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Discuss the benefits of low wage work to the worker and to society

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Below are the specific questions to be addressed in the term paper this semester. You should use them as a rough outline for your paper. Following the specific guidelines are some additional questions or statements that you may wish to respond to in various sections of the paper. Remember that the guiding questions represent required content, but that additional reflections on your part are expected in the paper in order to maximize your score. There is not a specific page length for this paper.

Guiding questions:
Questions from Chapter 1: Serving in Florida
1. Describe the working conditions the author experienced while waiting tables in Florida.
2. Describe the working conditions for “foreign” workers.
3. Identify the fringe benefits of the job for the workers. How do these benefits and working conditions differ from that of the middle class and professional workers?

Questions from Chapter 2: Scrubbing in Maine
1. How does Barbara’s boss describe himself in relation to the women that work for him? How does such an attitude better serve the corporation?
2. Why does Barbara no include herself as a member of the oppressed working class?
3. Discuss the point in the chapter that most interested/surprised you.

Questions for Chapter 3: Selling in Minnesota
1. Describe the living conditions Barbara encounters in Minnesota that “increases the victimization rate for poor women.”
2. How much help were charitable organizations to Barbara? What was the response to her requests for assistance?
3. In what ways were the agencies effective and ineffective?
4. Barbara identifies stereotypical appearance characteristics of her co-workers that hint at their level of poverty. Describe these characteristics and discuss why they are related to poverty.

Conclusion questions:
1. According to the author, what is the problem with the current method of estimating the poverty level? Why is it a problem?
2. According to Barbara, why don’t employees behave in an economically rational fashion and leave lower-paying jobs to take higher-paying jobs?
3. What is your overall reaction to the book?

Additional questions you may consider:
How did Barbara’s housing situations effect her diet, transportation, personal safety,
physical and mental health?

Describe the working conditions of the low wage employment Barbara pursued. Discuss
the benefits of low wage work to the worker and to society
Will low wage work pull people out of poverty? Why or why not? How do other
societies/countries/economies intervene to assist the poor?
Why does the author refer to the poor as the “major philanthropists in our society”?

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