aphar: (Default)
[personal profile] aphar
ivanov-petrov posted several scans from memoirs of Russian immigrants in the USA in 1920-ies.
One note that caught my fancy was the recurring complaint that while "things" (food, cars &c) are relatively cheap, "people" (domestic help - cleaning, cooking, driving) are relatively expensive:
Car driver is more expensive than the car itself, so the happy car owner has to wash, oil and service it oneself. Ladies have to do it too. One lady admitted to me that she has two cars but no household help. (translation is mine)
This is actually a direct contradiction to Marx's prediction that "haves" and "have nots" will drift further apart and that the "have nots" will be paid exactly the minimum cost of their food, cloth and shelter.
In fact the virtual disappearance of permanent domestic help (as opposed to, say, a weekly cleaner) indicates a reduction in economic inequality (as computed by, say, Gini coefficient).

PS. The domestic help issue for the immigrants is also related to the reduction of their status from "rich" in Russia to "middle class" in the US.

Date: 2017-06-15 06:36 pm (UTC)
ymarkov: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ymarkov
Я как раз читаю младшему книгу Хайнлайна The Door Into Summer. Написана в 1957. Главный герой – инженер, создающий автоматическую прислугу (эдакую Румбу на стероидах), потому что:

"Мне редко доводилось видеть домохозяйку, в которой не было бы чего-то рабовладельческого. Чуть ли не каждая спит и видит, как бы найти дюжую деревенскую девку, цель жизни которой в том, чтобы драить полы по четырнадцать часов в день, получать объедки с господского стола и те жалкие гроши, которыми и подмастерье ассенизатора пренебрег бы."

Date: 2017-06-16 07:22 am (UTC)
gingema: (Default)
From: [personal profile] gingema
Well, people who own big houses still have permanent help, they are not middle class people though. I don't know how many middle class people could afford permanent help in the past century. Also, the amount of house work has significantly decreased, both physically (freezers, eating out, dryers, dishwashers, cheaper and simpler outfits) and culturally (no expectations for starched white tablecloths etc)

Date: 2017-06-16 03:14 pm (UTC)
gingema: (Default)
From: [personal profile] gingema

"Being able to afford" is a matter of priorities. Supporting a child in a private college costs more than permanent house help. Even childcare for a baby may often cost more. And priorities are also culture-driven, which means they change over time even for people with the same income.

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