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March 07, 2013

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Emmett Salberg

The company store analogy is more than a stretch. According to Wikipedia, the company store line in the song refers to a scrip system.

"Under this scrip system, workers were not paid cash; rather they were paid with non-transferable credit vouchers which could be exchanged for only goods sold at the company store. This made it impossible for workers to store up cash savings. Workers also usually lived in company-owned dormitories or houses, the rent for which was automatically deducted from their pay."

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