Getting an adequate diet is reduced to some chopped meat, cheese, noodles, beans and vegetables (Ehrenreich, 2001).
By accepting low-paying jobs, they worsen their situation because the pay can hardly pay for the basic necessities in life. In some cases, it is less than a break-even proposition for them, spending more but in return to earn less. By keeping several jobs just to stay afloat, they deprive themselves of the opportunities to improve their lot such as continuing education at nights.
Perhaps the most beneficial government program at present are these food stamps that answer an immediate short-term need (Ehrenreich, 2002). Food banks and private charitable shelters help to alleviate the situation but these are not long term solutions. They can be considered as counterproductive because these in turn develop a sense of dependency among beneficiaries and recipients. The government and private charitable institutions should find a way for people to eventually escape the poverty trap like offering them education for free. Those who want to study and earn degrees should be given the full chance of doing so such as entirely free college tuition.
The private sector can do its part by not shortchanging these workers with very low pay and if they can afford it, then pay even above minimum wage that will allow workers to live a decent life. Karl Marx argued workers are exploited by the capitalists in terms of not getting the bulk of the so-called “surplus value” or what we call today as profits that resulted from workers production (Marx, Mandel & Fernback, 1992). Profit sharing can be a key.
My responsibility as an individual boils down to being a good consumer. It means I will not seek out very cheap products or services which I know is the result of workers being underpaid and I should feel guilt and shame.
The book enlightened me on the issues facing labor in general today. Most cases