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.
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