American Way

There’s nothing more ingrained in the American value system than work
ethic that involves the notion that hard work will lead to the fulfillment
of the American dream, economic success.According to the New York Times
(Schmitt, 2001), there’s ample evidence to suggest that American hard work
is paying off as evidenced by a sharp increase in living standards shown by
census data for the 1990s.[1]The proof provided by the article includes:

• An increase in high school and college graduates

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• An increase in people owning cars, with eighteen percentowning three

• bigger homes, with anincrease in the number of houses with seven

• growing family incomes
However, books such as Fast Food Nation:The Dark Side of the All-American
Meal (Schlosser, 2001)[2] and Nickel and Dimed:On (Not) Getting by in
America (Ehrenreich, 2002)[3] dispute the claims of The New York Times.
These works argue that working class people are now working longer, harder
hours than ever before with little reward or hope for a better future.
These books claim that hard work may be the American way, but it is
certainly not to key to the American dream.
Schlosser describes the “deskilling” of fast food jobs and the
grueling labor involved. Fast food jobs have their origins in the
assembly line systems adopted by American manufacturers in the early
twentieth century (Schlosser, p. 68).In a restaurant assembly line, tasks
are broken up into small, repetitive bits requiring little or no skill,
while machines and operating systems do the things that require timing and
training (Schlosser, p. 69).In the chapter called Behind the Counter,
Elisa, is a sixteen year old fast food worker who must get up at 5:15 in
the morning to arrive at work on time. She and her manager open the
restaurant by turning on the ovens and grills and getting the food and