Living on minimum wage analyzed through nickel and dimed by barbara ehrenreich

Not surprisingly, many societies have made productivity a social imperative, systematically enforcing the work ethic through culture and social institutions. The work ethic continues to dominate public policy and cultural beliefs concerning social welfare and citizenship, despite the role such ideology plays in perpetuating inequality. Recognizing the moral and ethical contradictions of productivity as a social imperative, various marginal groups have questioned the dominant work ethic.

Living on minimum wage analyzed through nickel and dimed by barbara ehrenreich

Emma Goldman famously denounced wage slavery by saying: They were worth at least as much as they could be sold for in the market.

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It is the impossibility of living by any other means that compels our farm labourers to till the soil whose fruits they will not eat and our masons to construct buildings in which they will not live. It is want that compels them to go down on their knees to the rich man in order to get from him permission to enrich him.

That is his misfortune. They must therefore find someone to hire them, or die of hunger. Is that to be free? The view that wage work has substantial similarities with chattel slavery was actively put forward in the late 18th and 19th centuries by defenders of chattel slavery most notably in the Southern states of the USand by opponents of capitalism who were also critics of chattel slavery.

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It has the merit of a show of honesty, while it puts the laborer completely at the mercy of the land-owner and the shopkeeper. Self-employment became less common as the artisan tradition slowly disappeared in the later part of the 19th century.

Thompson notes that for British workers at the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th centuries, the "gap in status between a 'servant,' a hired wage-laborer subject to the orders and discipline of the master, and an artisan, who might 'come and go' as he pleased, was wide enough for men to shed blood rather than allow themselves to be pushed from one side to the other.

And, in the value system of the community, those who resisted degradation were in the right. However, it was gradually replaced by the more neutral term "wage work" towards the end of the 19th century, as labor organizations shifted their focus to raising wages.

According to Friedrich Engels: The individual slave, property of one master, is assured an existence, however miserable it may be, because of the master's interest. The individual proletarian, property as it were of the entire bourgeois class which buys his labor only when someone has need of it, has no secure existence.

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Similarities of wage work with slavery Critics of wage work have drawn several similarities between wage work and slavery: Since the chattel slave is property, his value to an owner is in some ways higher than that of a worker who may quit, be fired or replaced.

The chattel slave's owner has made a greater investment in terms of the money he paid for the slave. For this reason, in times of recession, chattel slaves could not be fired like wage laborers. A "wage slave" could also be harmed at no or less cost.

American chattel slaves in the 19th century had improved their standard of living from the 18th century [26] and, according to historians Fogel and Engerman plantation records show that slaves worked less, were better fed and whipped only occasionally — their material conditions in the 19th century being "better than what was typically available to free urban laborers at the time".

The wage laborer's starkest choice is to work for an employer or face poverty or starvation. If a chattel slave refuses to work, a number of punishments are also available; from beatings to food deprivation — although economically rational slave owners practiced positive reinforcement to achieve best results and before losing their investment by killing an expensive slave.

Living on minimum wage analyzed through nickel and dimed by barbara ehrenreich

Both presented an over-positive assessment of their system, while denigrating the opponent. He noted that the 19th century Lowell Mill Girlswho, without any reported knowledge of European Marxism or anarchismcondemned the "degradation and subordination" of the newly emerging industrial system, and the "new spirit of the age: According to this narrative, any well-intentioned attempt to fundamentally change the status quo is naively utopian and will result in more oppressive conditions.

Both did, in some sense create jobs and their investment entailed risk. For example, slave owners might have risked losing money by buying expensive slaves who later became ill or died; or might have used those slaves to make products that didn't sell well on the market. Marginally, both chattel and wage slaves may become bosses; sometimes by working hard.

It may be the "rags to riches" story which occasionally occurs in capitalism, or the "slave to master" story that occurred in places like colonial Brazil, where slaves could buy their own freedom and become business owners, self-employed, or slave owners themselves.

Such arrangements, according to Graeber, were quite common in New World slavery as well, whether in the United States or Brazil. James argued that most of the techniques of human organization employed on factory workers during the industrial revolution were first developed on slave plantations.

Decline in use of term The usage of the term "wage slavery" shifted to "wage work" at the end of the 19th century as groups like the Knights of Labor and American Federation of Labor shifted to a more reformist, trade union ideology instead of worker's self-management.

Much of the decline was caused by the rapid increase in manufacturing after the industrial revolution and the subsequent dominance of wage labor as a result.

Another factor was immigration and demographic changes that led to ethnic tension between the workers.Nickel and Dimed: On Not Getting By In America is a book by Barbara Ehrenreich based on her ethnographic research on low-wage jobs in America. Inspired in part by the rhetoric surrounding welfare reform at the time, she decided to immerse herself into the world of low-wage earning Americans.

Wage slavery is a term used to draw an analogy between slavery and wage labor by focusing on similarities between owning and renting a person. It is usually used to refer to a situation where a person's livelihood depends on wages or a salary, especially when the dependence is total and immediate..

The term "wage slavery" has been used to criticize exploitation of labour and social. Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) is a service we offer sellers that lets them store their products in Amazon's fulfillment centers, and we directly pack, ship, and provide customer service for these products.

We will read selections from Working by Studs Terkel to compare narratives from people working in varied fields and selections from Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich to consider what it means to work for minimum wage. Some anti-capitalist thinkers claim that the elite maintain wage slavery and a divided working class through their influence over the media and entertainment industry, A Living Wage: American Workers Ehrenreich, Barbara () [].

Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America. {WANT TO READ} Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich - a book recommended by my local bookseller! Finally reading this one this winter. Find this Pin and more on Book List - Anthropology/Social Issues by Caitlin.

Review: Nickel and Dimed and Below the Breadline | Books | The Guardian