Download A Living Wage: American Workers and the Making of Consumer by Lawrence B. Glickman PDF

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By Lawrence B. Glickman

The struggle for a "living salary" has a protracted and revealing historical past as documented the following by means of Lawrence B. Glickman. The exertions movement's reaction to wages indicates how American employees negotiated the transition from artisan to shopper, beginning up new political percentages for prepared staff and growing contradictions that proceed to hang-out the hard work stream today.

Nineteenth-century staff was hoping to turn into self-employed artisans, instead of everlasting "wage slaves." After the Civil struggle, despite the fact that, unions redefined working-class identification in consumerist phrases, and demanded a salary that might gift employees commensurate with their wishes as shoppers. This consumerist flip in hard work ideology additionally led staff to fight for shorter hours and union labels.

First articulated within the 1870s, the call for for a dwelling salary was once voiced more and more by way of hard work leaders and reformers on the flip of the century. Glickman explores the racial, ethnic, and gender implications, as white male staff outlined themselves unlike African americans, girls, Asians, and up to date ecu immigrants. He indicates how a historic viewpoint at the proposal of a dwelling salary can tell our figuring out of present controversies.

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Example text

The latter terms suggest ameliora­ tion within the wage system. Thus the prostitution narrative, together with the consumerist version of wage slavery, became a building block of the living wage discourse. The competing uses of prostitution as metaphor and narrative 1llumi­ nate a debate about working-class gender roles, particularly masculinity, in the age of wage labor. Those who invoked the metaphor to condemn all wage earning as the moral equivalent of prostitution suggested that wage labor was incompatible with working-class manhood.

The competing uses of prostitution as metaphor and narrative 1llumi­ nate a debate about working-class gender roles, particularly masculinity, in the age of wage labor. Those who invoked the metaphor to condemn all wage earning as the moral equivalent of prostitution suggested that wage labor was incompatible with working-class manhood. Preserving manhood meant avoiding wages.

Only by "thrift and injustice," by denying himself and his family the "necessaries of ltfe" could a worker survive. The "wage system," the report concluded, "has proved to be adverse to the general good. " S I While the report employed the prevailing producerist wage slavery metaphor, it used the tenn in a new way, condemning the wage system not because it robbed workers of an equivalence but because it denied them what they needed to live as family men and citizens. The focus was shifting from equivalence to needs, from production to consumption.

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