Only about 4.3% of the labor force makes minimum wage or less, and about 20% of the workforce plugs away for $9 or less R V CHAPTER 12: FAMILY
Barbara Ehrenreich , sociologist and writer, did her own study where she had to live off of $9 a day and traveled the country working for $6 or $7 as a waitress and still could not afford to live off of her wages Faced with either welfare or low-wage work, single mothers find that the government’s definition of responsibility is narrowly defined as wage work By forcing welfare moms to enter the workforce while not providing adequate child care, the government encourages women to abandon their children in an unsupervised home To manage this tension between being a good worker or a good mother, single mothers may shoot for the nearly impossible strategy of self-reliance, but in reality they often ending up depending on cash assistance from family or boyfriends The Pecking Order: Inequality Starts at Home The home (no matter who makes up a family) is a haven of equality, altruism, and infinite love in an otherwise harsh world In Haven in a Heartless World , Christopher Lasch paints a rosy portrait of domestic life o To him, the home really is a haven where workers seek refuge from the cold winds of a capitalist public space o The family is sacred because it provides intimate privacy, managed by a caring woman who shields male workers from “the cruel world of politics and work” o This idea of the family as insulated from the outside world is deeply entrenched in America Such ideas give a misleading sense of the family as a harmonious unit, its member altruistically sacrificing for one another to forge a healthy, hearty, and loving private world In the book The Pecking Order (2004), the premise is that in each American family, there exists a pecking order among siblings, a status hierarchy, if you will—that can ignite the family with competition, struggle, and resentment In explaining economic inequality in America, sibling differences represent more than half of all differences between individuals Birth position matters only in the context of larger families and limited resources The children born first or last into a large family seems to fare better socioeconomically than those born in the middle o Middle kids feel the effects of a shrinking pie, as they tend to be shortchanged on the resources like money for college and potential attention The family is, in short, no shelter from the cold winds of capitalism; rather, it is part and parcel of that system When families have limited resources, the success of one sibling often generates a negative backlash among the others o As the parents unwittingly pull all their eggs—all their hopes and dreams—in just one basket, the other siblings inevitably are left out in the cold R V CHAPTER 12: FAMILY
The Future of Families, and There Goes the Nation!
You've reached the end of your free preview.
Want to read all 13 pages?
- Spring '08
- partner, traditional family