In Global Problems and the Culture of Capitalism, Robbins identifies defining traits of the work force including segmentation and resistance. Nickel and Dimed acts as a supplement to aide in the explanation of these traits through the experiences of Ehrenreich who lives for a short while as a minimum wage worker. When describing the segmentation of the labor force, Ehrenreich notes the utter dehumanization that occurs on a daily basis to those who are considered to be unskilled laborers, employees in the hiring stages, and women. Also documented is the resistance to change within the labor force. Nickel and Dimed displays the ways in which the ambition to move to a higher labor class is hindered and systematically made difficult, producing a market which benefits by essentially causing subservience and hardship for low wage workers.
Robbins writes about segmentation within social classes by businesses to target market individuals and raise profit (Robbins 22). The same type of stratification is prevalent within the labor force. This type however, is used to maintain a large lower class and is of huge consequence to those who are the victims of such segregation. One theme that Nickel and Dimed displays is the lack of humanism within the work force. Ehrenreich is very successful in pointing out the fact that this aides in the segmentation of workers. She makes it very clear that there is a distinct difference between how low wage workers and the rest experience employment. One thing that is used to perpetuate this split in the United States are terms such as “unskilled workers.” Ehrenreich points out that there is, in fact, no such thing as an unskilled worker. She notes that every single job that she entered required her to lea...
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...clothing, and emergencies. When laid out so plainly, it is easy to see why people get stuck. If one is never stable in such fundamental ways, it is nearly impossible to acquire the skills, time, and resources necessary to obtain a higher paying job.
From the previously presented examples, it can be concluded that as a culture, the work force is rather oppressive. Its success relies on the failure of people. It depends on the lack of ability for citizens to overcome circumstance and rise through socio-economic classes. That is not to say that the work force is not incredibly dependent on high paying jobs such as CEOs or managers of business. It does however seem to perpetuate and foster a lack of humanism as documented in Nickel and Dimed. A system where people find themselves stuck and therefore face discrimination, dehumanizing practices and a lack of adequate pay.
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