Friday, November 6, 2009

November 2009 - Nickle and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenriech

Discussion Questions:
  1. General impressions - did you enjoy the book? Why or why not?
  2. This book is about the working poor - have your group come to a consensus on the definition for "working poor".
  3. Some believe that the solution to the problems of the working poor is simply for them to work harder - a good Calvinist work ethic - or get a better job and make more money. After reading Nickle and Dimed, what does your group think about this attitude?
  4. Are the services that are described in this book truly necessary, and what would happen to your lifestyle if workers quit performing them?
  5. Could you survive on minimum wage? What luxuries would you have to give up in order to survive? How could you creatively supplement your income? Share some of your favorite ideas for "saving a dime".
  6. What role did intimidation and power have in keeping workers "in their place"? How would you have reacted?
  7. How do you think the authors experience would have been different if she were a recent immigrant or a non-Caucasian?
  8. What is a "living wage" and should everyone be entitled to it?
  9. If a majority of middle class jobs are outsourced to foreign countries, what impact will that have on our society?
  10. What impact do welfare programs have on the working poor?
  11. Would you be willing, as an employer, to pay higher prices for goods, so that your employees could earn a living wage?
  12. What is a Christian response to the problems of the working poor? Discuss.
  13. Has this book changed the way you view the working poor? Has it changed your beliefs, and do you think it might change your behavior?

Bonus: if your book has a reader's guide in the back, circle any additional questions that you would like to discuss with the group. Maybe add them to the list here?

Menu: "Dinner on a Dime"
  • pasta on a tight budget - Karen
  • poor man's soup - Jen
  • home made bread - Tessa
  • pound cake sundaes - Kate

Meeting at Tessa's house on Thursday, November 26th

* Please note that the date and location have both been changed!

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