A Living Wage: American Workers and the Making of Consumer Society by Lawrence B. GlickmanA Living Wage: American Workers and the Making of Consumer Society by Lawrence B. Glickman

A Living Wage: American Workers and the Making of Consumer Society

byLawrence B. Glickman

Paperback | August 12, 1999

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The fight for a "living wage" has a long and revealing history as documented here by Lawrence B. Glickman. The labor movement's response to wages shows how American workers negotiated the transition from artisan to consumer, opening up new political possibilities for organized workers and creating contradictions that continue to haunt the labor movement today.

Nineteenth-century workers hoped to become self-employed artisans, rather than permanent "wage slaves." After the Civil War, however, unions redefined working-class identity in consumerist terms, and demanded a wage that would reward workers commensurate with their needs as consumers. This consumerist turn in labor ideology also led workers to struggle for shorter hours and union labels.

First articulated in the 1870s, the demand for a living wage was voiced increasingly by labor leaders and reformers at the turn of the century. Glickman explores the racial, ethnic, and gender implications, as white male workers defined themselves in contrast to African Americans, women, Asians, and recent European immigrants. He shows how a historical perspective on the concept of a living wage can inform our understanding of current controversies.

Lawrence B. Glickman is Professor of History at Cornell University. He is the author of A Living Wage: American Workers and the Making of Consumer Society and the editor of Consumer Society in American History: A Reader, both published by Cornell. His other books are Buying Power: A History of Consumer Activism in America and The Cultu...
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Title:A Living Wage: American Workers and the Making of Consumer SocietyFormat:PaperbackDimensions:240 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.3 inPublished:August 12, 1999Publisher:Cornell University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0801486149

ISBN - 13:9780801486142

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Rethinking Wage Labor

Part I. From Wage Slavery to the Living Wage

Chapter 1. That Curse of Modern Civilization

Chapter 2. Idle Men and Fallen Women

Part II. The Social Economy

Chapter 3. Defining the Living Wage

Chapter 4. Inventing the American Standard of Living

Part III. Workers of the World, Consume

Chapter 5. Merchants of Time

Chapter 6. Producers as Consumers

Part IV The Living Wage in the Twentieth Century

Chapter 7. Subsistence or Consumption?

Chapter 8. The Living Wage Incorporated

Coda: Interpreting the Living Wage and Consumption

Notes
Index

From Our Editors

Lawrence B. Glickman examines how active workers, unions and political writers in the late 19th century asked challenging questions about their political economy and questioned the illegitimacy of corporate control. A Living Wage: American Workers and the Making of Consumer Society examines the complex and influential role of the worker as both employee and consumer.

Editorial Reviews

"A Living Wage is an original, exciting, and important book. By taking us inside the labor movement's long-term rumination on wages and the wage-relation, Lawrence B. Glickman shows what so few other historians have been able to demonstrate: namely, how American workers ideologically negotiated the transition between then and now, how that negotiation opened up new political possibilities for organized workingmen, and, at the same time, how it reinforced and finessed contradictions that continue to haunt the labor movement."—Jean-Christophe Agnew, Yale University