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Commentary

Ehrenreich: Writers on Work

Barbara Ehrenreich Nov 22, 2011

Kai Ryssdal: David Gura’s story about gross domestic product spins nicely into the economic chicken-and-egg argument of the moment. It goes a little something like this: What’s gonna come first — jobs or economic growth?

This week we’re asking people who write about work to share their views. Today, Barbara Ehrenreich.


Barbara Ehrenreich: My family was originally blue-collar. My father had been a miner, a copper miner, in Butte, Mont. And I was raised to respect everybody’s work. Hand it to my parents, they say whatever anybody’s doing — they’re scrubbing a floor — you’ve got to respect that.

There’s no quesion that the working class is much harder hit than white-collar people in this recession. Just, if you looked over the last three years at who was being laid off, the real carnage has been among blue-collar workers and disproportionately among black and Latino workers.

In all this talk about how we need more jobs, jobs, jobs, let us not forget that that’s not going to do much good unless those jobs pay enough to live on.


Ryssdal: Barbara Ehrenreich is the author, most recently, of “Bright-Sided: How Positive Thinking is Undermining America.” Tomorrow, our series continues with Jess Walter. You, of course, don’t have to wait for tomorrow. Send us your comments today.

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