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Word Count: 1,175
Nickel and Dimed is not simply an account of the struggles of low-wage workers It is a book that attacks the American capitalist system Barbara Ehrenreichs experiences point out that the efficiency of modern bureaucracies comes at the high cost of individual freedoms For bureaucracies to function it requires organization that must include a hierarchy Oftentimes this will lead to impersonal relations between members reduced flexibility and an abuse of authority However since the top positions in bureaucracies give power and privilege Those in power will sometimes place a higher priority on preserving their status rather than actually carrying out what the bureaucracy was intended for Thus there are two factors that Barbara Ehrenreich brings up in her book The ultimate affects of bureaucracies and the power elite who discreetly control and maintain them According to C Wright Mills there exists a power elite that is composed of men whose positions enable them to transcend the ordinary environments of men and women 146 It is those few elite who not only controls the bureaucracy but also maintains it by making it nearly impossible for workers to form unions Bureaucratic elites have considerable power and whenever possible give themselves high salaries In fact a bureaucracy closely resembles an authoritarian state They are able to maintain their power by supporting workers who support them and penalizing those who are opposed to them Their method of exercising power is either by demotions wage cuts or firing them From Barbara Ehrenreich we can see the tactics employed by the bureaucratic elites to maintain the system Before beginning her work Barbara and her coworkers are shown a video entitled Youve Picked a Great Place to Work which gives testimonials from workers saying how they sense a feeling of family at Wal-Mart Barbara then goes into a detailed account of why according to Wal-Mart unions are unnecessary and dont have much to offer workers Unions require payments and you lose your
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