By Lawrence B. Glickman

ISBN-10: 0801433576

ISBN-13: 9780801433573

The struggle for a "living salary" has an extended and revealing background as documented right here through Lawrence B. Glickman. The hard work movement's reaction to wages exhibits how American employees negotiated the transition from artisan to purchaser, establishing up new political probabilities for geared up employees and developing contradictions that proceed to hang-out the exertions circulation today.

Nineteenth-century staff was hoping to develop into self-employed artisans, instead of everlasting "wage slaves." After the Civil conflict, even though, 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 employees to fight for shorter hours and union labels.

First articulated within the 1870s, the call for for a dwelling salary used to be 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 employees outlined themselves not like African americans, ladies, Asians, and up to date eu immigrants. He indicates how a ancient standpoint at the suggestion of a dwelling salary can tell our knowing of present controversies.

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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. The metaphor /narrative distinction in the prostitution discourse closely parallels the producerist lconsumerist distinction in the wage slavery discourse. In each case, the first term suggests that only the abo­ lition of the wage system w1ll suffice. The latter terms suggest ameliora­ tion within the wage system.

I I Ultimately. however. the bedrock is­ sue - "the fundamental cause of workers' suffertng" - was wage labor. 12 20 From Wage Slavery to the Uvlng Wage Tracing the changing meanings of the wage slavery metaphor in the late nineteenth century provides new insight into the complex slavery / freedom binary. a staple of American political language and thought. The comparison of wage labor to slavery played a central role in labor's search for the meaning of freedom in the postwar United States. If it seems odd to tease out the shape of freedom by studying the metaphor of slavery.

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. The metaphor /narrative distinction in the prostitution discourse closely parallels the producerist lconsumerist distinction in the wage slavery discourse.

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


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