That which I adore
That which I abhor
, you may be thinking warily. Isn't that what we're supposed to
feel? But guilt doesn't go anywhere near far enough; the appropriate emotion
shame--shame at our
own dependency, in this case, on the underpaid labor of others. When
someone works for less pay than she can live on--when, for example, she goes
hungry so that you can eat more cheaply and conveniently--then she has made a
great sacrifice for you, she has made you a gift of some part of her abilities,
her health, and her life. The "working poor," as they are approvingly
termed, are in fact the major philanthropists of our society. They neglect
their own children so that the children of others will be cared for; they
live in substandard housing so that other homes will be shiny and perfect;
they endure privation so that inflation will be low and stock prices high.
Someday, of course--and I will make no predictions as to exactly when--they are bound to tire of getting so little in return and to demand what they're worth. There'll be a lot of anger when that day comes, and strikes and disruption. But the sky will not fall, and we will all be better off for it in the end.
-- from Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich