Nickel and Dimed

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On (not) getting by in America

By Barbara Ehrenreich.


This book provided me with a powerful insight into a part of America I dont really experience,   except as a consumer.   Here are a few quotes that stayed with me:

No job, no matter how lowly,   is truely ‘unskilled’”   As Barbara tries out different jobs,   through cleaner to  waitress to big store assistant (Walmart),   she takes us through the different things she learns to be effective in that job and paints sympathetic pictures of her colleagues.

One of Barbara’s most powerful conclusions that she backs with formal data is that

Something is wrong,   very wrong, when a single person in good health,   a person who in addition posseses a working car can barelt support herself by the sweat of her brow.   You dont need a dregree in econonomics to see that wages are too low and rents too high

Barbara had no problem finding work,   one and sometimes two jobs.   Her major challenge included  finding  affordable accomodation,   arranging transport to and from work.   Any money left over after that was used for food.   Often she was simply unable to balance her income and outgoings.

I would highly recommend this book,   it provides many subtle and vaired descriptions of the forces that together constrain the poor to remaining poor and implies potential solution routes.   All this is wrapped within readable stories of the authors own experiences and challenges.



Nickel and Dimed
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