Ultimately, humans are creative, hardworking and productive beings. As we spend the majority of our day at work, we want it to be rewarding and fulfilling. In this theory of alienation, being a worker comes first and being a person comes second. Alienation makes people spend their lives working on things they hardly care about while they make money for someone else as they sacrifice their own interests and goals. Capitalism turns workers into machines and alienates them from their full potential.
They are struggling to sustain the life of their families. On the contrary, the owners of the company where they work have a high standard of living. Bad wage is advantageous for the group of people known as traditional elites who own labor-intensive firms because it lowers production cost, thus increase the competitiveness of the product. For that reason, it is natural for the traditional elites to keep wage as low as possible. This action creates what Karl Marx wrote in The Communist Manifesto as ”naked, shameless, direct, brutal exploitation” (82).
Throughout Ehrenreich 's journey, she becomes increasingly aware of the reality of her situation as a member of the working poor. She realizes that “the 'working poor, '... are in fact the major philanthropists of our society”(Ehrenreich 221). Despite having far less wealth than the average American, low income workers sacrifice their time and health to accept wages that are often fiscally unviable. The working poor must slave away at “jobs that… [are] physically demanding, some of them evan damaging (pg.195)” to benefit the financially adept, who give nothing in return. This process of giving and not receiving is exhibited when Ehrenreich attempts to find aid from welfare programs, but is disappointed when she can only qualify to receive less than a week 's worth of groceries.