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October 22, 2009



i've read nickel and dimed, but i'll have to get scratch beginnings out of the library. sounds like a good balance!

Ron F.

Barbara Ehrenreich did not set herself up for failure. She was not trying to do what Adam Shepard did. Ehrenreich only spent one month at three menial jobs in three separate states in order to highlight the plight of the working poor to stay afloat financially. She was not trying to lift herself out of poverty like Adam Shepard. That was not her goal. Adam Shepard's experiment takes place in an entirely different world from that of the working poor that Ehrenreich covered. Shepard is among homeless people in a shelter. Ehrenreich is not concerened about living as cheaply as possible, as Shepard is. That is because her experiment is to highlight what life experience is like for the working poor. Shepard is the one who is concerened about living as cheaply as possible in order to save as much money as possible. Shepard is a capitalist. Ehrenreich is a socialist. That is why Shepard makes, as you do as well, a gross error in comparing his experiment to Ehrenreich's experiment. Finally, at no point in her book does Ehrenreich state that social immobility is impossible. She even talks about her father lifing her family up from poverty to become an upper middle class family. At no point in her book does Ehrenreich state that the working poor are doomed to eternal failure. She gives plenty of examples of upward and downward social mobility. Also, as a 60-year-old upper middle class woman in her experiment, you should be able to understand why she paints a bleaker situation that an idealistic, cocky young man like Adam Shepard. I believe that the reason you and Adam Shepard misunderstand her work is your opposition to her socialist views. You and Adam Shepard both need to give her book a second read and try to hear her out completely. She has important and valid points to make, as does Adam Shepard.


I read the book (Ehrenreich) and found it really informative and poignant (and depressing) .
I had 3 problems though:1. I felt that after Key West she became very hard and had such a bad attitude that their was no way she could succeed from then on.
2. I thought that alot of the things that she found degrading were not degrading at all. When you look for a problem it is easy tofind one. I do not believe drug testing is degrading, I really don't. When I was in highschool my full class was drug tested all the time. It was annoying but it prevented most kids from doing drugs. Also management is their for a purpose, your not supposed to like them. Get over it.
3. She irritatingly gave no suggestions to how to fix this problem.

overall this book was great and I highly recommend it. I am curious to read Shepard's book. Person above me calm down, he is young and she basically shattered his hopes for the future and his belief in America, how does that make him cocky? Because he thrived?

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