The Ugly Side of American Capitalism: Are We Responsible?


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Essay #: 057217
Total text length is 4,609 characters (approximately 3.2 pages).

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The beginning:
The Ugly Side of American Capitalism: Are We Responsible?
In Nickel and Dimed, Barbara Ehrenreich records her time among America’s working poor. The book raises and plays upon several emotions, one of the most unexpected of which is guilt. Throughout the book, in both tacit and overt ways, Ehrenreich raises the possibility that the economic injustice she records is not a function of greedy corporations, a laissez-faire capitalist state, or poorly-educated workers who do not know any better than to be exploited: the problem is us, that is, the average American consumer.
Take the case of Ehrenreich’s time at Mountain Air, a company that sells air filters to asthmatics. Here, Ehrenreich’s boss delivers a chilling speech: “We will be...
The end:
.....e chief flaws of Ehrenreich’s book is that, despite walking the reader all the way up to this conclusion via her references to shame and the interdependence of rich and poor, she shies away from making the final leap of logic that would render the ugly secret of the system bare.
Anyone moved by Ehrenreich’s book would do well to opt out of the low-wage economy by being less of a consumer, and by concentrating more of his or her spending on local and sustainable businesses. We can take action to counteract the sordid economic justices portrayed by Ehrenreich, but we must take responsibility rather than merely blaming the corporations.
Ehrenreich, Barbara. Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America. New York: Macmillan 2001