Excavations in these areas have found the ruins of cities geared variously towards trade, politics, or religion.
Technology innovators and venture capitalists were acquiring sudden fortunes, buying up McMansions like the ones I had cleaned in Maine and much larger. Even secretaries in some hi-tech firms were striking it rich with their stock options. There was loose talk about a permanent conquest of the business cycle, and a sassy new spirit infecting American capitalism.
In San Francisco, a billboard for an e-trading firm proclaimed, "Make love not war," and then — down at the bottom — "Screw it, just make money.
Criticisms, too, have accumulated over the years.
But for the most part, the book has been far better received than I could have imagined it would be, with an impact extending well into the more comfortable classes.
Even more gratifying to me, the book has been widely read among low-wage workers. In the last few years, hundreds of people have written to tell me their stories: Twenty-nine percent is a minority, but not a reassuringly small one, and other studies in the early s came up with similar figures.
The big question, 10 years later, is whether things have improved or worsened for those in the bottom third of the income distribution, the people who clean hotel rooms, work in warehouses, wash dishes in restaurants, care for the very young and very old, and keep the shelves stocked in our stores.
The short answer is that things have gotten much worse, especially since the economic downturn that began in Post-meltdown poverty When you read about the hardships I found people enduring while I was researching my book — the skipped meals, the lack of medical care, the occasional need to sleep in cars or vans — you should bear in mind that those occurred in the best of times.
The economy was growing, and jobs, if poorly paid, were at least plentiful. InI had been able to walk into a number of jobs pretty much off the street. Less than a decade later, many of these jobs had disappeared and there was stiff competition for those that remained. It would have been impossible to repeat my Nickel and Dimed "experiment", had I had been so inclined, because I would probably never have found a job.
For the last couple of years, I have attempted to find out what was happening to the working poor in a declining economy — this time using conventional reporting techniques like interviewing. I started with my own extended family, which includes plenty of people without jobs or health insurance, and moved on to trying to track down a couple of the people I had met while working on Nickel and Dimed.
Neither seemed unduly afflicted by the recession, but only because they had already been living in what amounts to a permanent economic depression. In andfor example, blue-collar unemployment was increasing three times as fast as white-collar unemployment, and African American and Latino workers were three times as likely to be unemployed as white workers.
Low-wage blue-collar workers, like the people I worked with in this book, were especially hard hit for the simple reason that they had so few assets and savings to fall back on as jobs disappeared. How have the already-poor attempted to cope with their worsening economic situation?
One obvious way is to cut back on health care. The New York Times reported in that one-third of Americans could no longer afford to comply with their prescriptions and that there had been a sizable drop in the use of medical care.
Others, including members of my extended family, have given up their health insurance. Food is another expenditure that has proved vulnerable to hard times, with the rural poor turning increasingly to "food auctions", which offer items that may be past their sell-by dates.
In Racine, Wisconsin, a year-old laid-off mechanic told me he was supplementing his diet by "shooting squirrels and rabbits and eating them stewed, baked and grilled".
In Detroit, where the wildlife population has mounted as the human population ebbs, a retired truck driver was doing a brisk business in raccoon carcasses, which he recommends marinating with vinegar and spices. The most common coping strategy, though, is simply to increase the number of paying people per square foot of dwelling space — by doubling up or renting to couch-surfers.
According to a community organiser in Alexandria, Virginia, the standard apartment in a complex occupied largely by day labourers has two bedrooms, each containing an entire family of up to five people, plus an additional person laying claim to the couch.
No one could call suicide a "coping strategy", but it is one way some people have responded to job loss and debt. There are no national statistics linking suicide to economic hard times, but the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline reported more than a four-fold increase in call volume between andand regions with particularly high unemployment, such as Elkhart, Indiana, have seen troubling spikes in their suicide rates.
Foreclosure is often the trigger for suicide — or, worse, murder-suicides that destroy entire families. But its response to the economic emergency of the last few years has been spotty at best. The difference between the two programs? There is a right to food stamps.Bright-sided: How Positive Thinking Is Undermining America [Barbara Ehrenreich] on metin2sell.com *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers.
A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER Americans are a positive people -- cheerful, optimistic. This Land Is Their Land Barbara Ehrenreich’s widely acclaimed This Land Is Their Land takes the measure of what we are left with after the cruelest decade in memory and finds lurid extremes all around.
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The Associated Press polled a panel of WNBA coaches and general managers for a mock draft of the first round this spring. Barbara Ehrenreich discusses life in America during the George W.
Bush years in her latest collection of essays, called This Land Is Their Land: Reports from a Divided Nation. Barbara Ehrenreich spoke in Seattle at . The Tyranny of Optimism - Optimism is a state of mind in which an individual will tend to “expect the best possible outcome or dwell on the most hopeful aspects of a situation” (metin2sell.com).