Jay's World of Abstracts 00005


Nickel and Dimed

'Nickel and Dimed: On (not) getting by in America' by Barbara Ehrenreich.

[Standard disclaimer: The nature of abstracts are that they are pieces of something larger. Not everyone is going to be happy with my choice of abstracts from any larger work, so if you are dissatisfied, I would refer you to the original document, which should be able to be found on the Internet. I encourage others to make their own abstracts to satisfy their needs.

Jay's Introduction

This is a book of experiences and insights from a journalist that wanted to discover the realities of the poor in America. The abstarct below is from the conclusions the author draws from her experiences. It was a perspective that I had never had before.

Abstract

[Page 221]

...the appropriate emotion (about the plight of the working poor) is shame -- shame at our own (middle and upper class) dependency, in this case, on the underpaid labor of others. When someone works for less pay than she can live on -- when, for example, she goes hungry so that you can eat more cheaply and conveniently -- then she has made a great sacrifice for you, she has made you a gift of some part of her abilities, her health, and her life. The "Working Poor," as they are approvingly termed, are in fact the major philanthropists of our society. They neglect their own children so that the children of others will be cared for; they live in substandard housing so that other homes will be shiny and perfect; they endure privation so that inflation will be low and stock prices high. To be a member of the working poor is to be an anonymous donor, a nameless benefactor, to everyone else.


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