Mrs. Melanie Walters
14 October 2014
The Gap between the Upper and Lower society
Prompt 5 Robert and Barbara discuss the issues surrounding the rich becoming more and more wealthy and the poor languishing in poverty. “In persons servers are also becoming poorer, although their fates are less clear cut”. These in-service workers are not given enough to live a comfortable lifestyle and show no signs of being financially stable.
To portray the relationship between the rich as they continued to gain wealth and the poor as they continue to decline economically, Reich uses a metaphor of three different boats rising and sinking with the tide, “We are now in different boats, one sinking rapidly, one sinking more slowly, and the third rising steadily” (516). The growing gap between the upper society and lower society, Reich says is because the upper class are thinking and selling their ideas. The gap between the upper and lower society keeps growing and many middle and lower class are barely able, if able, to get by.
The second of the three boats, carrying in-persons servers, is sinking as well, but somewhat more slowly and unevenly. Most in-persons servers are paid at or just slightly above the minimum wage and many work only part-time, with the result that their take-home pay is modest, to say the least. Nor do they typically receive all the benefits garnered by routine producers in large manufacturing corporations or by symbolic analysts affiliated with the more affluent threads of global web. (522)
Not only do these jobs not normally receive benefits but in person servers must compete with high school graduates and dropouts. Then, they must also compete with “former production workers, who, no longer able to find well-paying routine production jobs, have few alternatives but to seek in-persons jobs” (522). Not to mention, in-person servers will need to compete with the growing numbers of immigrants (both legal and illegal).
But the intense competition nevertheless ensures that the wages of in-persons serves will remain relatively low. In-persons servers—on their own, or else dispersed widely amid many small establishments, filling all sorts of personal-care niches—cannot readily organize themselves into labor unions or create powerful lobbies to limit the impact of such competition. (523)
Barbara describes the conditions living and working in a low class society. Like Reich, she says these in-service jobs are not financially stable; they are given just enough to live off of. “Gail told tells me ruefully that she swore, years ago, never to work for a corporation again. They don’t cut you no slack. You give and you give and they take” (Ehrenreich 137). Not only are they forced to work in almost inhumane conditions, “The break room summarizes the whole situations: there is none because there are no breaks at Jerry’s. For six to eight hours in a row, you never sit expect to pee” (142) but they are treated like criminals. Barbara says, “ I haven’t been treated this way—lined up in the corridor, threatened with locker searches, peppered with carelessly aimed accusations—since at least junior high school” (138). They are treated like they are thieves and little children, which results in the employees feeling degraded, while also working them to the bone.
You start dragging out each little chore because if the manager on duty catches you in an idle moment he will give you something far nastier to do. So I wipe, I clean, I consolidate catsup bottles and recheck the cheesecake supply, even tour the tables to make sure the…