Ehrenreich’s definition of the poor resembles with Harrington’s as the two define the ‘poor’ in the context of society where the poor are ignored to the extent that they are denied living existence. As Ehrenreich argues that ‘the affluent rarely see the poor, or if they do catch sight of them in some public space, rarely know what they are seeing, since-thanks to consignment stores’ and Wal-Mart that the poor are ‘usually’ able to ‘disguise themselves as members of the more comfortable classes’ (Ehrenreich, Nickel and Dimed 216). The U.Sworking poor have become invisible to upper income groups.
The poverty of ‘so many millions of Americans’, argues Ehrenreich, must be seen as ‘a state of emergency’ (Ehrenreich, Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America 214). When the rich and the poor ‘compete for housing on the open market, the poor don’t stand a chance’ (Ehrenreich, Nickel and Dimed 199). Ehrenreich dscribes the way the rich ‘can always outbid them (poor), buy up their tenements and trailer parks, and replace them with condos, Mc Mansions, golf courses, or whatever they like’ and thus the monopoly of the rich further backs the poor (Ehrenreich, Nickel and Dimed 199).
The author identifies the causes of poverty as inherent in the system of the society where the poor is invinsible and the poverty is a matter of fact so must be shrugged over without much heed. Here the author is in line with Harrington who also identifies the cause of povert in embedded in the society ‘since’, says Ehrenreich, ‘the rich have become numerous, thanks largely to rising stock prices and executive salaries, the poor have necessarily been forced into housing that is more expensive, more dilippidated, or more distant from their places of work’ (Ehrenreich, Nickel and Dimed 199). Where Harrington says that the ‘fate of the poor hangs upon the decision of the better off’ so says Ehrenreich that it is the blessings of the rich that have forged the poor into deteriorating condition.
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