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

By Lawrence B. Glickman

ISBN-10: 0801433576

ISBN-13: 9780801433573

The struggle for a "living salary" has a protracted and revealing heritage as documented the following by way of Lawrence B. Glickman. The exertions movement's reaction to wages exhibits how American employees negotiated the transition from artisan to purchaser, starting up new political chances for geared up staff and growing contradictions that proceed to hang-out the hard work circulate today.

Nineteenth-century staff was hoping to develop into self-employed artisans, instead of everlasting "wage slaves." After the Civil conflict, besides the fact that, unions redefined working-class id in consumerist phrases, and demanded a salary that may 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 through exertions leaders and reformers on the flip of the century. Glickman explores the racial, ethnic, and gender implications, as white male staff outlined themselves not like African americans, ladies, Asians, and up to date ecu immigrants. He indicates how a historic standpoint at the thought of a dwelling salary can tell our knowing of present controversies.

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Extra resources for A Living Wage: American Workers and the Making of Consumer Society

Example text

To be free, according to the "free labor" ideology and its later variants, was to be able to work for oneself, to hire others, and, if necessary, to be hired - but only temporarily. Even those labor leaders who recognized Part I lntroductton 15 the increasing predominance of permanent wage labor. looked to inde­ pendent proprietorship as the solution. rather than seek a solution within the wage system. While acknowledging that the self-employment myth did not accord with reality. for example.

In the absence of their common enemy. workers and their employers de­ veloped radically different assessments of wage labor. Far from uniting the disparate classes of the North In a "free labor" consensus. attitudes toward wage labor diverged sharply by class after the Civil War. This new class conflict played Itself out In the language of wage slavery. which ar­ ticulated distinctions among "free" workers. It galled workers that many middle-class Americans complacently cele­ brated wage labor as a sign of freedom.

If workers were like prostitutes simply because they earned wages. little could be done about it. But the narrative of prostitution was more flexible; it opened possibili- IdleMen and FaUen Women 37 ties t o solve the problem o f prostitution within the wage system itself, notably through the living wage. Whereas the metaphor emphasized the shame of wage labor, the narr ative suggested remedies for the shame within a regime of wage labor, and, for this reason, ultimately became the more common way to invoke the language of prostitution.

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

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