People generally enjoy working and being productive members of society. The positive effects of the Welfare Reform Act is moving to eventually end poverty in America and promote economic growth. According to the 2005 report measuring welfare dependents “Poverty in 2003 remains much lower than in 1996, the year of passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act. The official poverty rate for 2003 was 12.5 percent, compared to 13.7 percent in 1996.” ( Gil Crouse, Susan Hauan, Julia Isaacs, Kendall Swenson and Lisa Trivits, 2005 ) States that design welfare-to-work policies that emphasized getting recipients into jobs by shifting to “work-first” welfare systems can modify program rules to allow more earned income,
The book Nickel and Dimed On (Not) Getting by in America, written by Barbara Ehrenreich is a book that relates the experience of how she survived living on poverty-level wages in America as a waitress, maid and a Wal-mart sales associate. Barbara left her comfortable surroundings as a journalist with a Ph.D in biology to work various "unskilled" and "under compensated" jobs in order to achieve, "the old-fashioned kind of journalism". In regards to leaving her comfortable lifestyles for a few months traveling through Florida to Maine and Minnesota, she discovered that people who are paid six to seven dollars an hour did not generate enough income for those who did not want to live
Marx was a big proponent for the working-class movement and the equality in terms of property. To him, the issue that is most important to conquer is the issue of the estrangement and alienation of man, where man himself is the alien power over man – more specifically, it is workers who are being estranged (Marx 1988, 79). Consequences of this estrangement can be seen with private property, because although it seems to be the root of the problem, private property is actually the consequence of “alienated labor”, explaining why capitalism is a horror to him (Marx 1988, 81). It may be thought that an easy way to give workers equality would be to pay them equal wages, but this is yet another estrangement of labor (Marx 1988, 82). Progress, to Marx, would need to consist of a way to diminish the root of the problem – estrangement of the worker. This would consist of “emancipation of the workers” because the emancipation of the workers would have a large ripple effect, and result in the universal human emancipation (Marx 1988, 82). As it has been addressed multiple times, the estrangement of the worker is the root of the problem, and a step towards progress would need to consist of the workers being emancipated so they are no longer alienated and forced to labor while getting nothing but monetary payment for their labor. The alienation of workers furthers the issue by leading a society towards private
In the Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844, Karl Marx identifies a dichotomy that is created and bolstered by the capitalist mode of production. In this mode of production, the dichotomy presents itself in a division of labor that forms of two kinds of people: capitalists, the owners of the means of production, and laborers, those who work under the domain of the capitalist. Marx harshly criticizes this mode of production, arguing that it exploits the laborer and estranges him from himself and his fellow man. According to Marx, this large-scale estrangement is achieved through a causal chain of effects that results in multiple types of alienation, each contingent upon the other. First, Marx asserts that under capitalism, the laborer is alienated from his product of labor. Second, because of this alienation from his product, man is also alienated then from the act of production. Third, man, in being alienated both from his product and act of production, is alienated from his species essence, which Marx believes to be the ability to create and build up an objective world. Finally, after this series of alienations, Marx arrives at his grand conclusion that capitalist labor causes man to be alienated from his fellow man. In this paper, I will argue in support of Marx’s chain of alienations, arriving at the conclusion that laborers, under the capitalist mode of production, cannot retain their species essence and thus cannot connect with one another, and exist in a world
“The Economic Policy Institute recently reviwed dozens of studies of what constitutes a “living wage” and came up with an average figure of $30,000 a year for a family of one adult and two children, which amounts to a wage of $14 an hour.” (213). According to Ehrenreich, about 60 percent of American workers earn less than $14 per hour. In all of places where Ehrenreich worked paid seven dollars or less per hour, which means those of people who work in those place cannot even afford to have some essentials services such as health insurance and telephone. Since they cannot even struggle to get out, politicians could takee an action; however, they didn't do any works. “The Democrats are not eager to find flaws in the period of “unprecedented prosperity” they take credit for; the Republicans have lost interest in the poor now that “welfare-as-we-know-it” has ended.” (217). And, they also had a catastrophic error. “In fact, very little is known about the fate of former welfare recipients because the 1996 welfare reform legislation bithely failed to incude any provision for monitoring their postwelfare economic condition.” (217). Congressmen need to read this book to realize the problem, and not satisfy themselves by ignoring failures because they have
Barbara Ehrenreich is a political/social journalist and writer. She is a best-selling author with a dozen book credits to her name. Her works include Blood Rites, The Worst Years of Our Lives, and Fear of Falling. She also has written articles for Time, Harpers, The New Republic, The Nation, and The New York Time Magazine. Her Ph.D. in biology endows her with the experience and discipline to approach as a scientific experiment the study resulting in her newest book, Nickel and Dimed.
“Something is wrong, very wrong, when a single person in good health, a person who in addition possesses a working car, can barely support herself by the sweat of her brow” (Ehrenreich, 2001, pg. 199). Barbara Ehrenreich wrote this in her captivating book Nickel and Dimed, where she embarked on a journey that revalued the truth behind life in low-wage America. Growing up I was led to believe that nothing worth having comes easy. As long as I worked hard and gave everything 100% I was guaranteed success, in essence hard work was the key to success. Ehrenreich revels the sad reality for many Americans where hard work, the type you never thought possible that leads to exhaustion, does not guarantee success. Ehrenreich had very unique objectives for writing this novel and she was able to reveal the impacts of social policy then and now.
It is expensive to be poor in America. With unemployment being persistently high, this is good news for those in the poverty business who make money off of the misery of the poor. The working poor have to contend with payday loans, rent to own schemes, sub-prime lenders, exorbitant credit cards and a diabolically clever ideas that entrepreneurs have though of to get rich off those with thin wallets. The poor are stuck because they do not have the means to go elsewhere (" Place matters,," 2008).
Ehrenreich is part of the upper-middle class; she is "privileged" to have a job in which she makes money by sitting at her desk and writing (E 2). She has never considered herself one of the working poor before this experiment, even though she explains, "the low-wage way of life had never been many degrees of separation away" (E
In the book Nickel and Dimed On (not) Getting By in America the author Ehrenreich, goes under cover as a minimum wage worker. Ehrenreich’s primary reason for seriptiously getting low paying jobs is to see if she can “match income to expenses as the truly poor attempt to do everyday.”(Ehrenreich 6) Also Ehrenreich makes it extremely clear that her work was not designed to make her “experience poverty.”(6) After completing the assignment, given to her by an editor, she had planned to write an article about her experience. Her article purpose intended to reach the community that is financially well off and give them an idea how minimum wage workers deal with everyday life. It
In Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, Barbara Ehrenreich tells a powerful and gritty story of daily survival. Her tale transcends the gap that exists between rich and poor and relays a powerful accounting of the dark corners that lie somewhere beyond the popular portrayal of American prosperity. Throughout this book the reader will be intimately introduced to the world of the “working poor”, a place unfamiliar to the vast majority of affluent and middle-class Americans. What makes this world particularly real is the fact that we have all come across the hard-working hotel maid, store associate, or restaurant waitress but we hardly ever think of what their actual lives are like? We regularly dismiss these people as
Through interviews with welfare workers and recipients, Hays demonstrates the high costs welfare has had on the moral, economic, physical and mental well-being of poor women and their children due to what she considers to be the conflict between the two opposing aspects of reform: work values and family values. She believes that these conflicting values and the inherent weaknesses in the Act contribute to serious and ongoing problems for welfare recipients.
In the world's growing economy there are always questions of how society runs so that the general population can keep up financially. To watch over this there must be a heavy influence on labor from the past, present, and in the future. This idea is formed by multiple individuals that have taken part in politics, economics, and world affairs; but no two speakers have given a more long term, permanent effect on this topic that Karl Marx and Robert B. Reich. Karl Marx, born in Germany in the 1800’s and is known as a worldwide literary genius and philosopher, has been studied by top scholars for years. Robert B. Reich is a more modern intellect on the idea of labor in the country coming from the United States governmental system in the 1950’s.
As human beings, one of the most fundamental aspects of our existence, according to philosopher Karl Marx, is the act of work. More specifically, it is the idea that work fulfills human being’s essence. Work, for Marx, is a great source of joy, but only when the worker can see themselves in the work they do, and when said worker wants to partake in the work they are performing. In the capitalist identity, workers are “a class of labourers, who live only so long as they find work, and who find work only so long as their labour increases capital” (Marx and Engel, 1946, pg. 116). Labourers were simply described as “a commodity” (Marx and Engel, 1946, pg. 117) by the ruling class; they are but pieces of a large, intricate gear system, all for the profit of those above them. In this, the worker loses touch with their essence. This concept is referred to, more or less, as alienation. Alienation is a form of separation of how one sees themselves, and how one sees themselves in what they do. Alienation, in many ways, relates to the idea of false consciousness. False consciousness, for Marx, revolves around the idea of misleading society; It is an ideological way of thinking in which no true perception of the world can be achieved. Both alienation and false consciousness delve into the notion of what constitutes true reality. Alienation describes how those that are controlled by the ruling class are subject to a form of disconnect, and false consciousness is a hierarchal idea in
Much of Marx’s work was written in the midst of intense European industrialization in the 19th century. As division of labor and the capitalist system developed and expanded as a way to exploit workers for economic gain, Marx contemplated what role this transition had to play in the progression of human history. As an economic determinist, Marx believed that modes of production are key to changes in human history, such that labor, work, and the economic system have primacy over all other factors. Thus it is no surprise that Marx’s theory of alienation is