Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Bait and Switch

Barbare Ehrenriech has a new book coming out on this topic (follow Holden's link to the article proper): Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream. It's Nickel and Dimed for the middle class. Its due out in September, I'm reading an advance copy right now.

Depressing stuff, as she makes her way through the cottage industry of "coaches" and programs, all that, for a price, (usually a high one, too, especially when you are unemployed) will teach you how to adjust yourself to get back into the corporate culture and claim the brass ring of the American Dream (which seems to be a secure, high-paying job). When did we reduce ourselves to this? To people whose only purpose is to "make it" in the "corporation," to "fit" within the ever-shifting demands of a legal fiction whose sole interest is the wealth of the shareholders and the top executives? How did we let our lives be reduced to this?

I know there are lot of answers, both to that question and to what should be done about it. Wendell Berry generally presents the most clear-eyed assessment of the situation. Still, it's depressing to see how avidly we have sold our birthright for a mess of pottage.

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