My mother told me that I should read a book called "The Ragged Trousers Philanthropists" for a very long time and about 3-4 months ago I decided to finally listen to it while exercising
and it's been an interesting experience. She read it when she was a child and told me that it stuck with her for the rest of her life due to how common the practices still are despite the book being a hundred years old now.
The book is mainly about a bunch of poverty stricken labourers in the early 20th century who live in the south of England and how they survive in their day to day. The book goes over how the rich fuck the common man over constantly and even convince them that this is normal and any change is bad so they continue to live in this way, along with how people who preach about being religious are some of the worst of the bunch, hypocrites who don't follow their teachings using religion as a stepping stone to make themselves richer by convincing others that they'll get their reward in death if they just help others (the rich) instead.
I'd say the best parts of the book are the conversations the labourers have with each other, as well as their private lives. Owen (who is most likely the author's self insert) is seen as the main character and spends around 4-5 chapters spread out over the book explaining how money isn't the cause of poverty to his fellow labourers during their lunch break, and while the conversation is interesting In and of itself the reactions of the others are quite humourous and I've laughed a few times listening to their reactions.
I also enjoy the sections of the book that discuss how the company they work for tries their hardest to fuck them over to make sure they make the most profit, either through firing them for being lazy so they can hire another worker at a cheaper rate, stealing items from the properties they work on for their own, replacing them with worse items and blaming it on the workers, or the most recent example of creating a "dinner time" period where they no longer get paid for an hour of their work, instead they are allowed to eat their food they've brought from home and they can "make up for it" by working an additional hour of overtime for no extra pay.
If I were an incredibly political person, I'd probably despise the book for being "communist propaganda" or "leftist dribble" or some other buzzword. I honestly don't feel that from the book. It feels more like a man who was writing that the current system is bad and should be changed but had no idea what kind of change to really bring about beyond a vague concept of "socialism" and he obviously had no idea what that would bring in the 20th century.
I'm around 8-9 chapters away from finishing the book now so it'll be interesting to see how it'll end. I do remember being told that the final few chapters were not written by the author but instead by his daughter and the tone feels "off" so I wonder if I'll be able to pick up on that.