File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0106, message 6

Date: Sat, 02 Jun 2001 02:28:47 -0400
Subject: Re: [Fwd: Weeping in a Rolls-Royce]

Steve and All,

This link takes you to an excerpt from Barbara Ehrenreich's book,
"Nickled and Dimed".  She is a nationally recognized writer,  a woman in her
sixties, who took various low-paid jobs a few years ago, and relates her
experiences in this book.

Couples who both work, and earn average or better than average pay, and have
children in school, or pre-school, must often work more than 80 hrs. per
week to hold their jobs.  Real wages have changed little in 20 years, but
the cost of living has increased a great deal.

Parents of today's baby boomers, in the post-WWII era of strong unions,
could often live on a single income, get medical care without the
obstruction and costs of HMO's.  However,
nuclear families have dwindled to 23.5% according to the 2000 census, and
they may fare better than the majority of families of single moms and single

An influx of millions of illegal aliens who work "off-the-books", and the
export of most U.S clothing factories to $1 a day, countries of the third
world, are factors which increase the competition for decent jobs, and keep
wages low.


Steve wrote:

> All
> I was interested in this email (from sciene as culture list) because of
> extraordinay claims that we are working more now than in the 1960s. I feel
> suspicious of this claim. My suspicions are founded on the distrust I feel
> people who suggest things are worse now than they were for our parents and
> grandparents - this level of pessimism always makes me want to scrutinise
> evidence. On a personal basis however I remember my father working
standard 6 day
> weeks and occasionally 7 days - in addition he only had two weeks holiday.
> father worked the same regime but only one weeks unpaid holiday a year. To
> that a 21st worker is working longer hours than our forefathers is I
suspect to
> massage the evidence in unacceptable ways.
> Compare these hours to myself - I never work weekends without days off in
> 25days holiday a year, have a standard 37.5 hours working week and work
probably 45
> hours and sometimes 50 hrs a week if travelling to the USA on business..
These are
> not unsual working hours -
> It is true however that working time directives are essential - standard
30 hour
> weeks - preferably over 4 days... are a desirable and achievable goal.
> regards
> sdv
> Ian Pitchford wrote:
> > Book Reviews - Weeping in a Rolls-Royce
> >
> > Book Reviews
> > Christopher Gasson Monday 28th May 2001
> >
> > Blood, Sweat and Tears: the evolution of work
> > Richard Donkin Texere, 400pp, 18.99
> > ISBN 1587990768
> >
> > It is difficult not to feel a sense of betrayal about technological
> > We have invented machines to do work for us, but the more ingenious our
> > inventions, the harder we find ourselves working. We have exchanged 40
hours of
> > slavery in a soot-covered factory for a 70-hour week chained within the
> > granite-faced confines of the giants of the new global service economy.
> > average American now works one month a year longer than he or she did in
> > 1960s. Britons, similarly, seem to be increasingly choosing work over
> >
> > As Richard Donkin makes clear in his broad history of work, Blood, Sweat
> > Tears, we have only ourselves to blame for so readily giving up our
lives to
> > our employers. It is a combination of our desires always staying one
step ahead
> > of our ability to afford them, our psychological need to define
ourselves by
> > our work, and an immutable work ethic, that continues to drive us long
> > the religion that spawned it ceased to be relevant.
> >
> > Full text:
> >
> >
> > To view archive/subscribe/unsubscribe/select DIGEST go to
> >
> >
> > Read The Human Nature Daily Review every day
> >
> >
> > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to


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