Nickel and Dimed

As the main objective of this experiment was to determine that it is practically impossible for a low skilled and low-wage female worker and a single mother to earn enough money in order to get proper lodging, fulfill necessary needs and support her children, the outcome of her experiment in her own perspective was quite positive and satisfactory.

Ehrenreich spend one month in three different cities of the United States to determine the workplace conditions, wages, behavior of the employers regarding the low-wage and low skilled employees and she was successful in finding out with a nearly real life experience that’s why she was satisfied with her experience and find herself as an above average low skilled worker.

The experiment undertaken by Ehrenreich was extremely successful in her own perspective because she eventually found out what she intended to. As she has discussed in her last chapter “The Evaluation” that all the three case studies explicitly reveal that it is extremely difficult for a low-wage worker to find proper lodgings with the current level of wages in the country. She also found out that a single job is never enough for a low skilled worker to earn enough money in order to meet his/her end meets. Moreover the employers behavior is also highly disparaging.

The employers use wicked techniques to keep the wages as low as possible and keep the employees in constant pressure so that they never get organized against their unfair treatment. (Ehrenreich) All these things make the life of a low-wage worker extremely difficult and demanding. According to her evaluation in all the three cities the rate of housing surpassed the wages of the low-income employees making it virtually impossible to get proper lodgings. (Ehrenreich) So by keeping in mind that her objective was to finding out that it is impossible for a low-income wageworker to get proper lodgings and meet end meets, her experiment was extremely successful in her own perspective also.

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She can certainly said that she has met the objectives of her experiment as she has found out that lowest 20% of the workforce of the U.S. economy is in extremely difficult condition and their problems are so severe, so complex that it is also extremely difficult for them to overcome these problems or find better jobs even if they exist in their surroundings. (Ehrenreich) Her main objective was to determine the difference between the lives of the high paid and low-wage workers, and that most of the needs of the high paid labor is met by the low paid and unskilled labor.

In my own perspective the experiment carried out by Ehrenreich was highly successful. She presented us the true picture of the low-income Americans’ lives and helps us realize the severity of the problems the low-income labor force faces during their jobs and in their workplace.

She gives the living proof of the reality that it is virtually impossible for a low-wage worker to survive in these conditions and find a shelter for himself, especially if the worker is a single mother and she has to provide food and support to her siblings also. Thus the outcome of this experiment clearly indicates of its success. She proved that the employers’ exploit is so extreme in nature that even the shortage of the labor does not compel them to raise the wage, i.e. universal economic rules do not apply for these low-income labor. (Ehrenreich)

As a learned member of society I can use the knowledge of this book by making people realize that the so-called claim of a prosper and welfare America is just a bluff and a slogan which only depicts the external shine and wealth of the corporate America. While in the deep there are certain levels of the American economy and workforce, which suffers as much as any other workforce in a third world and developing country. We can use this book and the outcome of this research in order to find the solution, which will help us to eradicate the deprivation of the low-income workforce at the bottom of the U.S. economy.

We can use this book to increase the awareness of the people about the sufferings of the low-income workers. We can use this knowledge to disclose the persecution of the corporate sector of their low-income employees and to persuade the employers to behave more humane with their low-income employees and make the workplace a better place for them and raise their wages to a level which would practically make it possible for them to meet their end needs, but also to go ahead.

The overall output of the experiment of Ehrenreich and the tone of the language of last chapter evaluation clearly indicates that the experiment was a complete success in the view of the author and she thinks that she has finally determined what she has sought through out her 3-month expedition. She finally came with the living proof of what she initially claimed that it is virtually impossible for a low-skilled and low-income wageworker to earn enough money, by which they can get proper housing and meet their end meets and support their dependants like siblings or get medical treatment even when their lives and health is at stake.

The book is a complete success in a reader’s perspective become it creates awareness of this unfair practice of the employers of the corporate America, who continue to insist on exploiting the low-wage workers and deprive them not only of their end needs but also from any prospect of getting ahead. Thus this book and the research in it is an important and helpful knowledge regarding the unfair class structure in the American Society.

Works Cited

Ehrenreich, Barbara. “Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America.” Holt

Paperbacks. May 1, 2002.
























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