America, where a young man can raise himself up from poverty with only the sweat on his back and the smarts in his noggin!
No, I haven’t read Adam Shepard’s Scratch Beginnings, but blogger Frugal Dad has, and his article is an interesting review and view of hauling yourself up by your bootstraps by spending only on survival.
What got my attention were the comments that followed Frugal Dad’s review, which is angled more toward the spending aspects (his blog is about frugality) than the sociological aspects. But that’s covered starting with comment #5, and that’s where gender politicking strikes, and strikes hard. I tend to agree with IRG at #8, and Pamela at #10.
A huge motivation for Shepard’s self-imposed poverty was Barbara Ehrenrich’s Nickled and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By In America. After he “graduated from college in the summer of 2006 feeling disillusioned by the apathy he saw around him and incensed after reading Barbara Ehrenreich’s famous works Nickel and Dimed and Bait and Switch—books that gave him a feeling of hopelessness over the state of the working class in America. Eager to see if he could make something out of nothing, he set out to prove wrong Ehrenreich’s theory that those who start at the bottom stay at the bottom, and to see if the American Dream can still be a reality.” (from the Amazon page describing Scratch Beginnings)
It worked for him, as a young, college educated white kid in Charleston, SC, where he stayed for the duration of his experiment. It didn’t work so well for Ehrenrich, who moved from city to city, presumably to get a more global view of the working poor.
Have any of you read either or both of these books? What do you all think?