Barbara Ehrenreich

American author and political activist

Lived from: 1941-

Category: Politics | Writers (Contemporary)

Quotes: Barbara Ehrenreich

Quotes 1 till 15 of 65.

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  • Barbara Ehrenreich
    Barbara Ehrenreich
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    A child is not a salmon mousse. A child is a temporarily disabled and stunted version of a larger person, whom you will someday know. Your job is to help them overcome the disabilities associated with their size and inexperience so that they get on with being that larger person.
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    A free-enterprise economy depends only on markets, and according to the most advanced mathematical macroeconomic theory, markets depend only on moods: specifically, the mood of the men in the pinstripes, also known as the Boys on the Street. When the Boys are in a good mood, the market thrives; when they get scared or sullen, it is time for each one of us to look into the retail apple business.
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    America is addicted to wars of distraction.
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    Anyone who has invented a better mousetrap, or the contemporary equivalent, can expect to be harassed by strangers demanding that you read their unpublished manuscripts or undergo the humiliation of public speaking, usually on remote Midwestern campuses.
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    As anyone knows who has ever had to set up a military encampment or build a village from the ground up, occupations pose staggering logistical problems.
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    At best the family teaches the finest things human beings can learn from one another generosity and love. But it is also, all too often, where we learn nasty things like hate, rage and shame.
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    Considering the absence of legal coercion, the surprising thing is that men have for so long, and, on the whole, so reliably, adhered to what we might call the ''breadwinner ethic.''
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    Crime seems to change character when it crosses a bridge or a tunnel. In the city, crime is taken as emblematic of class and race. In the suburbs, though, it's intimate and psychological - resistant to generalization, a mystery of the individual soul.
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    Employers have gone away from the idea that an employee is a long-term asset to the company, someone to be nurtured and developed, to a new notion that they are disposable.
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    Exercise is the yuppie version of bulimia.
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    From the point of view of the pharmaceutical industry, the AIDS problem has already been solved. After all, we already have a drug which can be sold at the incredible price of $8, 000 an annual dose, and which has the added virtue of not diminishing the market by actually curing anyone.
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    Given the cultural barriers to intersex conversation, the amazing thing is that we would even expect women and men to have anything to say to each other for more than ten minutes at a stretch. The barriers are ancient - perhaps rooted, as some paleontologist may soon discover, in the contrast between the occasional guttural utterances exchanged in male hunting bands and the extended discussions characteristic of female food-gathering groups.
  • Barbara Ehrenreich
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    Heads of state are notoriously ill prepared for their mature careers; think of Adolf Hitler (landscape painter), Ho Chi Minh (seaman), and our own Ronald Reagan.
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    I complain to one of my fellow servers that I don't understand how she can go so long without food. Well, I don't understand how you can go so long without a cigarette, she responds in a tone of reproach. Because work is what you do for others; smoking is what you do for yourself.
    Source: Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America (2001) Ch. 1: Serving in Florida (p. 31)
  • Barbara Ehrenreich
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    If men were equally at risk from this condition - if they knew their bellies might swell as if they were suffering from end-stage cirrhosis, that they would have to go nearly a year without a stiff drink, a cigarette, or even an aspirin, that they would be subject to fainting spells and unable to fight their way onto commuter trains - then I am sure that pregnancy would be classified as a sexually transmitted disease and abortions would be no more controversial than emergency appendectomies.
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