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The Living Wage: Building a Fair Economy Hardcover – August 15, 1998


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 244 pages
  • Publisher: New Press, The (August 15, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1565844092
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565844094
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,376,630 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Recently, Senator Ted Kennedy and Representative Richard Gephardt introduced a bill to raise the minimum wage by $1 per hour by the year 2000. Yet even if the bill passes, according to arguments presented here, many minimum-wage workers will still live below the poverty line. Talk of alternatives among policy makers has focused on the "living wage" initiative, which would require companies that receive government contracts to compensate their workers in sufficient pay and benefits to raise them above the poverty level. On the side usually championed by Democrats are Pollin, a professor of economics and codirector of the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and Luce, a doctoral candidate in sociology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. The authors favor implementing the initiative on a national level and bolster their arguments with extensive research, often attempting to show why conservatives who oppose the measure are shortsighted. Those not passionately interested in this issue will find the writing dry and rife with policy terminology. This is more of an academic study than a general overview of the political and sociological implications of such an initiative. However, according to the authors, the core findings on which the book is based most likely played a role in living wage legislation that was recently adopted in Los Angeles; just so, the book may help other activists raise the pitch of the debate. Editor, Matt Weiland.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Many economists cringe when they hear the word fair in economic debates (or book titles). These purists believe that economists step outside their professional roles when they begin to advocate policies or impose their own value judgments. Pollin (codirector, Political Economy Research Inst., Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst) and Luce, a former government economist, provide ample evidence supporting the living-wage proposal (stipulating a higher minimum wage for firms with city contracts) adopted in Los Angeles, but they are not reticent about stating their own opinions. They focus on the Los Angeles proposal but in their concluding chapter make their case for national-level changes, most of which involve redistributing income from the wealthy to the poor. They are quick to make such controversial statements as "businesses can afford for their costs to rise 1% and not have to raise price" but the analytical chapters are balanced and informative. Recommended for public and academic collections in economics, politics, and urban policy.?A.J. Sobczak, Covina, CA
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By thucker@igc.org on August 20, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Review of The Living Wage: Building a Fair Economy by Robert Pollin and Stephanie Luce
Every so often a work of contemporary issue analysis comes along that illuminates the often-arcane world of professional activists in language that renders it accessible to the general public. In The Living Wage: Building a Fair Economy (New Press), economists Robert Pollin and Stephanie Luce have not only provided a long-overdue assessment of the fifty-plus living wage campaigns across the country, they have created an invaluable tool for the organizers currently engaged in those efforts. Since the book's printing, I've found grateful readers and dog-eared copies in campaign offices from Montana to Maryland.
Since the modern living wage movement began with the passage of the Baltimore living wage ordinance in 1994, more than twenty-five cities and counties have passed living wage laws, and campaigns are underway in over two dozen more jurisdictions, making the effort "the most interesting (and under-reported) grassroots enterprise to emerge since the civil rights movement" according to the journalist Robert Kuttner. Defenders of other political movements of the last thirty years might disagree, but there's no question that the thousands of workers who have received a raise or new benefits due to a living wage law appreciate their significance.
The campaigns, which begin with the idea that no one working full time should be forced to live in poverty, require businesses receiving public dollars to pay wages significantly above the minimum wage, usually enough to raise a family at or above the poverty level.
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By Riley1 on April 18, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a person who has been on the fence, I thought this book presented a very good case for The Living Wage argument. I can't say that I am in a different place now but I have a lot more facts to replace my assumptions. Worth reading.
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