Nickel and Dimed: On Not Getting by in America

Stratification refers to the hierarchical arrangement of the people in a particular society at a time in general. Sociology has always had a long history of always trying to dip up and know much about economic stratification in general. It has also for a long time been trying to teach the various types of inequalities that exist in our societies today in general. They could range from ethnicity, gender, racial and all other forms of inequalities that do exist in the society today in general (Melvin & Kazimierz 34). They could also be regarding the unequal resources that are available at a particular time and place. Inequality usually always means that all do not well reach resources, or there is unequal access to the scarce resources that we have as a country in general. The funds could be political or even economic in general. They could as well be as mere as the access to the health facilities in a place in general. Stratification has always been a major debate in the United States, in general, owing to the facts that normally come from the statistics in general. The Barbara Ehrenreich’s best seller, Nickel, and Dimed: On Not Getting by in America provide very useful insights on the topic of social stratification in the United States in general.

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My impression of the Book

The book gives a very insightful picture of the topic of social stratification in general. It gives an outline of what a day or the real experience of what social stratification in the United States is in general. The book by its author who decides to one day gets to be a low wage worker working through the lowest paying jobs and seeing what essentially it means being in a position like that in general (Ehrenreich 67). The fact that she says millions of Americans wake up every day to get to work but cannot afford a decent life is in itself social stratification. She says that even surviving on these jobs is a very hard task for anyone in the United States. In saying so, she means that there are those who are extremely rich and are like the feudal who give employment to the other low end of the population that have to survive on a few dollars a day in general. The fact that there is already hierarchy which is a true reflection of the everyday life in America is Stratification. In the United States, there are those who live in filthy riches and those who have to bear with what life has to offer to them to fend for their day to life in general. They undertake very odd jobs to see to it that they can as well survive in the highly stratified society. The Rich and the poor are the hierarchies that exist in the present America in general. The book gives a very clear picture of social stratification in the United States as it is today.

I also find the book to be quite investigative enough in coming up with its very many conclusions in general. Ehrenreich investigates herself the very many difficulties that low wage workers face in their day to life. These include hidden costs that normally come along with it that are often not easily seen by many. These include aspects such as food and shelter that often always have to be catered for by the low wage workers themselves (Ehrenreich 115). She goes ahead and even attacks the notion that low wage jobs require unskilled labor in general. Having been there herself, she knows that it even requires energy, focus, thinking on your feet and even memory to effectively survive these very harsh moments in general.

Frightening issues in the Book.

Several issues can be seen to frightening in the book in general. It is because the author decides to get into the lives of the low wage workers herself and not as one of them necessarily but as a researcher in this particular field in general (Ehrenreich 189). It then sees to it that she can experience the suffering of the low wage worker not by stories that are peddled and told by the media but by the fact that she is the one who gets involved in the research herself. She allows herself to go through the torture and suffering that they go through to feel the real impact of what it means to be a low wage worker in America. In so doing she can come up with several frightening issues in general.

One of the frightening issues that she brings out is the hardships that the low wage workers have to go through in general. With a budget of as low as sometimes 6 dollars an hour, someone is expected to pay up for his foods in general; they are also expected to pay up for their shelter and many more stipends that have to be carried out by an individual in general (Ehrenreich 114). Such is sometimes very costly for an individual, and this money is not often enough to be able to cater for all things and even take care of a family that most American low wage workers have to take care of in general.

The other major frightening thing is the view and notion that low wage jobs require unskilled labor. It is a very misleading statement that even partly contributes to the low wages that the people get in general. It is the opposite as Ehrenreich puts it across in her book. She says that low wage jobs require memory, energy, learning quickly and thinking on your feet to be able to carry out the work efficiently in general.

The Changes that are Necessary.

There need to change that should be made to see to it that social stratification becomes a thing of the past. One of the changes that need to be undertaken to see an end to indignities that are the focus of Barbar Ehrenreich’s book is there needs to be an up societal change in the way that things are done is the need to change the societal opinion towards low wage jobs in general. It is time Americans begin viewing low wage jobs just like any other job (Beeghley 38). It will then be slowly possible to do away with the perception that low wage job requires unskilled people in general.

The other change that needs to be done is to come up with legislation implementation frameworks that can see to it that low wage workers are paid minimum wages that are stipulated out in our labor laws in general. It is in these that low wage workers can be able to earn wages that can be able to afford a little better standard life in general.

Changes that have occurred since its Publication.

Some changes have occurred since the publications of the book in general in the United of the changes that have been able to be witnessed include a steady rise in the standard of living in general. Normally the standard of living is based on items such as income, employment, poverty and housing affordability in general.

There has also been a steady growth in social mobility as a result of the raised standard of living in general (Beeghley 68). Social mobility involves a situation where people can move from one hierarchy level to another in general. With these such trends, the America is assured of a good future for its people.


Works cited

Beeghley, Leonard. The structure of Social Stratification in the United States. New York: person education Inc, 2008.

Ehrenreich, Barbara. Nickel and Dimed: on(not) Getting by in America. New York: Metropolitan Books, 2010.

Melvin, Kohn and Sroczynski Kazimierz. Social structure and self-direction: a comparative analysis of the united states. Cambridge: Basil Blackwell, 2009.