Let’s Get Real. Economists Have a Women Problem

Jerri-Lynn here. Happy International Women’s Day! Other countries make a much bigger deal about this holiday than does the United States. Perhaps because we’re so evolved as to how we treat women. (HAHAHA!)

(See, e.g., ‘How Do I Know Where Your Socks Are?’)

By Lynn Parramore, Senior Research Analyst at the Institute for New Economic Thinking. Originally published at the Institute for New Economic Thinking website

Didn’t know that March 8th was International Women’s Day? You’re not alone. In some places, like Germany or China, the day recognizing women’s rights and equality is a public holiday. In others, like the United States, it hardly makes a ripple.

You may not see economists making a fuss over it, either. Possibly because the self-professed “king of social sciences” has a blind spot so huge that it habitually blots out half the world’s population. On top of that, it blurs the most significant forces that shape our lives – our social ties, our family life, our very bodies, particularly if those bodies happen to be female.

In The Sex Factor: How Women Make the West Rich, British economist Victoria Bateman, a fellow at Cambridge University, brings things back into focus. As a feminist, she often gets asked what feminism and economics have in common. Her answer? “Not nearly enough!”

Bateman has made headlines – and irked some feminists —by doing something rather dramatic to highlight the failings of economics and the practices and beliefs that hamper gender equality and women’s bodily autonomy: she often professes her views naked. That might seem a bit extreme, but she is tired of waiting. While academic disciplines have been moving beyond male-centric biases for decades, economists have hardly budged. Some practitioners might give passing notice to sex and gender in discussions of labor markets and wages, but these topics are pretty much absent in theories of economic growth, boom and bust, and inequality.

Meanwhile, the standard assumptions, measures and methods used by economists are touted as gender neutral. News flash: they aren’t.

Part history tour, part manifesto, Bateman’s lively book makes it clear that if economists want to understand things as important as poverty and prosperity, they’ve got to adjust their lenses and see the fundamental role women play in the economy. This is not just a story of women’s oppression, though there’s plenty of that. In her narrative, women emerge as active agents who have been central to economic success from the very beginning. Yet economies have thanked them by taking a free ride on their backs.

Bateman traces a history in which Europeans, especially those in the north and west, made economic leaps past more established civilizations in the Middle East and elsewhere partly because they featured circumstances that tended to increase women’s freedom. The Black Death, for example, which obliterated half of Europe’s population in the 14th century, left a shortage of male labor and thus opened markets to women in ways that in turn shaped family structures, leading to nuclear families which gave women more independence and choices — such as marrying later and having fewer children — than they tended to have in traditional extended kinship networks. These new family structures also helped to nudge everybody to rely on cooperation with non-relatives and influenced the emergence of democratic states in Europe. Trust in non-family members was good for the development of markets, too, and when markets flourished, women’s participation gave them economic power which enabled them to stand up to social norms and family pressure, which again influenced the state. And so on.

This expansion of women’s freedom meant that by time of the Industrial Revolution, women in northern and western Europe typically engaged more freely with markets compared to those in other parts of Europe and much of rest of world (or in much of the world today), forming a third of the labor force in Britain by the 19th century. Women’s freedom then, does not appear as byproduct of Western economic growth, as many historians and economists would have it, but a precondition. Which means that the standard story of how the West grew rich, a tale of male inventors and industrialists, is far from complete.

Bateman emphasizes that while women’s freedom is essential to growth, it doesn’t just naturally increase over time, but gets knocked backwards almost as frequently as it moves forwards. She notes that over the course of the Industrial Revolution, female employment fell as disparities between men and women increased. Unfortunately, this was the time when economics as a discipline was developing. Economic theory prioritized what economists considered the “rational,” “masculine” realms of life opposed to the “soft,” “feminine” side, casting men as economic actors and women as unproductive dependents. In the 20th century, such distorted divisions manifested in the male breadwinner/female caregiver model which has by no means disappeared.

Basically, economists set up an artificial wall between public and private spheres that is “long overdue a wrecking ball,” as Bateman puts it, noting that the market and the state are by no means the only centers of human action. Many feminists argue that a third sphere must be included in the discussion – the realm of home, family, and society. Consider the famous “homo economicus,” the rational, self-interested agent beloved by economists, who knows nothing of care labor or activities performed for purposes other than financial reward. Economists using the rational agent model tend to think of people making free choices and weighing every decision carefully, but this discounts the experience of women whose freedom and choices are restricted, driven into early marriages or facing unintended pregnancies, which make up nearly half the pregnancies in the world.

Bateman embraces libertarian feminism, a strain which emphasizes the rights of women to control their bodies, including their fertility and the right to engage in sex work. Her version of libertarianism is less antagonistic towards the state than what Americans might associate with the term. When asked if she views macroeconomies as inherently stable, Bateman gives a cautious nod to Keynesianism. She also acknowledges that the state can work for women by providing public sector jobs and welfare systems that prevent them from becoming destitute. In her view, the state should intervene in care work, such as the provision of care for children and the elderly. But she also points out the way markets can provide advantages to women, such as allowing them to escape repressive families and heavily gendered social expectations. Markets and states, she believes, are not necessarily adversaries but can be designed to bring out the best in each other. Thinking about social norms and family life is crucial because gender inequalities there are reflected and reinforced in the other two realms.

Bateman’s perspective brings a fresh focus to conversations about inequality in the West as a global problem linked to women having too little control over their bodies. Lack of freedom for women in poorer countries, she observes, has spillover effects in richer economies in terms of wages, inequality and economic growth. Her observations are also relevant to environmental debates in which issues like population and women’s fertility often go unmentioned. Economists prefer to talk about clean technology, but for Bateman, women’s ability to control their fertility is as important – if not more – to a sustainable future. She notes that Project Drawdown – a coalition of scientists, scholars and others concerned about the environmental crisis – ranks 80 solutions to the climate crisis, with family planning and the education of girls listed in the top ten, ahead of solar farms and wind turbines. Bateman points out that economists worried that low fertility hurts the economy are ignoring the fact that that population growth is often built on women’s unpaid care and lack of freedom.

Are economists ready for these observations? If they want to contribute to solving the world’s most pressing problems, such as growing economic inequality and the destruction of the planet, let’s hope the answer is yes.

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  1. Steve H.

    An odd juxtaposition: while clear in content, a content analysis shows zero instances of ‘abortion’ and ‘birth control’. The word ‘control’ shows up thrice, twice with ‘over their bodies’ and once for ‘fertility’. ‘Fertility’ shows up four times.

    What is odd is the support in the abstract for the control, while avoiding the material means. The means have been around for decades. A millennia from now, the birth control pill may be regarded as the most important 20th century invention, in terms of individual liberty for half the population.

    To shy away from the material means is like talking about war and not addressing weapons. In matters of life and death, the argument undercuts itself. I don’t understand why Parramore would weaken her position from the first step.

    1. kiwi

      Household labor is not unpaid. This is one of the biggets myths foisted on the population by feminists.

      Homemakers with no external income receive payment in the form of having all living expenses cared for….things like housing, food, clothing, transportation, health care……

      And to be fair, if the homemakers were paid by the wage-earner, then the homemaker should pay at least 1/2 for all of the living expenses out of that salary.

      If you take this argument to its logical conclusion, all the unpaid work by men related to household upkeep, should also be paid.

      1. furies

        So then male breadwinners should pay rent and board too out of their paycheck?

        Staying home with the kids has impoverished me in my twilight years…

      2. franklin kirk



        Personally, I’m for a citizens dividend, funded by economic land site value and mineral rents (like the Alaska Permanent Fund and Texas using royalties from oil revenue to fund their public education system), as well as a job guarantee.
        Economic land rent would apply to broadband spectrum leasing among other unearned income instances as well.

  2. Off The Street

    Conventional orthodox economics:

    Assume a can opener, then assume who is using it.

    A curious case of who, whom.

  3. Barry Fay

    The whole argument is an unrealistic stretch. And claiming that in Germany, where I have now lived for 25 years, international Women´s Day is a public holiday is completely misleading. It is “recognised” but is not still a work day if it does´t fall on Sunday (which is does this year).
    BTW: seeing EVERYTHING through a single prism (here, women´s lib) does not lead to understanding – in fact quite the opposite!

    1. curious euro

      I’m a german by birth and I can tell you, no one even knows what a International Women’s Day is.
      All kinds of X Day or Y Day are a very much USian invention and any recognition of those kind of days if at all came with the cultural invasion by the USA after WW2.

      The only actual “X Day” holiday most Germans would recognize is the 1st of may. International labor day, which actually is a public holiday. Then there is the 3rd of october which was formerly 17th june, the national holiday.

      All other holidays are christian in nature, or maybe pagan: 2 days christmas, 3 days easter, 2 days pentecost, all souls, reformation day, new years, etc.

      As for the rest of the article: the less written about it, the better.

    2. kiwi

      I now find this celebration of all things female to be tedious and boring. I still consider myself a feminist, but I am so tired of all the whining by women.

      The simple fact is that men have always done the hardest, most difficult work behind the survival of humans. They did virtually all of the heavy lifting related to advances for humans, and they still do all of the hardest, difficult, worst jobs throughout the world.

      The only reason women have been able to advance at all is because men made our lives comparatively easy to women of past ages. Now, women can use their brains to get ahead – no physical strain necessary, thanks to men. Men invented machinery, like cars, labor saving devices, the pill, the information age and on and on. Men have always done the heavy lifting, such as building and designing virtually all buildings until more modern times; developing/building transport systems and devices (boats, ships, trains, autos, roads), plumbing, and on and on. (sure, women contributed here and there, but minimally, all considered).

      And men still do almost all of the dirty work. (my feminist friend can’t even change a flat tire – she calls her husband to do the task; another feminist friend liked to talk about how she was such a strong women, but then cried the entire time she was moving because it was so difficult)

      Yet women still complain and complain and complain about men.

      1. Arizona Slim

        Weren’t women kept away from inventing things? Y’know, because they were women, and invention and the development of technology just weren’t things that were ladylike?

        1. Mel

          Hard to say. Ursula LeGuin in The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction suggests that it’s not that women were locked out of inventing things; they were locked out of the stories and narratives told about inventing things. The epics and sagas, and the later traditions in news and what-not that descended from epics and sagas, were mostly about what men did.
          She wrote a counter-example in a short story, I think called The Black Dog, that’s really interesting.

          1. Synoia

            In primitive societies, women bear children, which is the pinnacle of “making things.” Men make tools, implements, both war and hunting, and agricultural.

            One needs an understanding of pre-industrial, societies to frame an answer to the questions above.

            Inventing things is for people who have the time to invent. Women in pre-industrial times had little “free time.”

            “A man works from dawn to dusk. A woman’s work is never done.”

            1. Mel

              Inventing things is for people who have reasons to invent. Women have never been mere cows. If they’d only recited more sagas about themselves, that would be obvious. The Carrier Basket article is pretty good. Worth a check-out.

    3. Jeremy Grimm

      Judging from this post Bateman seems to be suggesting that the rise of Capitalism in the West was a result of “circumstances that tended to increase women’s freedom”. So it had nothing to do with religion or the rise of bureaucratic organization? What is the argument for this claim? Is it too complex to encapsulate in this post? The idea that inequality in the West is tied to “women having too little control over their bodies” ignores a lot of other factors that I believe are much more compelling — like Corporate monopsony of demand for Labor — male and female — and the resulting diminished share of profits going to Labor.

      The reference at the tail of this post to Project Drawdown and the concerns Bateman has for “family planning and the education of girls” ignores that these issues are largely concerns about other countries and their cultures and traditions. How is this solution supposed to be implemented in the many religious countries of the world where family planning is a cultural taboo and places where the education of girls is fiercely sometimes brutally stopped: “80 solutions to the climate crisis, with family planning and the education of girls listed in the top ten, ahead of solar farms and wind turbines”. What else is in the top ten on the Project Drawdown list?

      Who is Project Drawdown and where does their funding come from? Their website is a little vague. They hand out a lot of fellowship grants and seem to have a fair amount of backing — by whom? I am all for efforts to many mitigate the problems the world faces in the near future but as “Greening” grows and the scope of the agnotology around matters of climate grows clearer I cannot help but look each gift horse in the mouth and wonder if it comes from Greeks.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        I believe Project Drawdown is so far a very new and very ill-funded infoganda website invented by Paul Hawken among others. What it does is to list and describe certain actions which ” would” draw down a lot of skycarbon “if” they ” were implemented”. From the little I have read about it, it seems to me that at least some of them could work, if strongly applied and pursued.

        But the only way for that to happen would be for some middle and big economy countries to adopt them within their own borders and get them so firmly entrenched within the political cultures of those particular border-bounded national countries that they could not be overthrown or undermined by the merchants-of-fossil within those countries. Then those countries could all withdraw from the International Free Trade System and the Corporate Globalonial Plantation. Once that withdrawal were secured and defended, then those countries could forbid trade and travel of any kind between themselves and the other countries who have not yet fully implemented all the Drawdown Protocols within their borders.

        It would be a Forced March to the Top led by the Drawdown Countries. Not like the Race To The Bottom which we have now, thanks to Free Trade and International Co-operation ( which is where good intentions go to die).

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          Thanks! Following the lead of your comment I read Paul Hawken’s bio at Wikipedia. He founded Erewhon foods, co-founded Smith & Hawkens garden supply, OneSun, The Natural Step USA, the Natural Capital Institute and is now Executive Director of Project Drawdown. He worked with MLK before the Selma March on Montgomery, and Mikhail Gorbachev gave him the Green Cross Millennium Award for Individual Environmental Leadership. He seems to have his heart in the right place. I’ll give Project Drawdown a second look.

          I agree with your assessment that policy actions to mitigate future problems will require efforts by “some middle and big economy countries to adopt them within their own borders and get them … firmly entrenched”. One country dictating policy to another which rejects that policy is not an option for dealing with Climate Chaos. [Neoliberal elements in other countries are quite willing to adopt Neoliberal policy and force that policy on their people especially when another nation or proxy willingly assumes the role of villain.]

          I am growing doubtful that there will be a timely drawndown of the International Free Trade System. Even DoD’s concerns and now the Corona flu disturbance shaking the roots of our supply chains seem unable to drawdown the International Free Trade System which has added so much to the inherent instability of our Empire and many of its minions.

      2. Greg

        Yes, it had nothing to do with religion or the rise of bureacratic organization. China and India had both of them in spades for a very long time, but they didn’t develop capitalism. Nor did ancient Sumeria or Rome – both well known for their religions and bureaucracies.

        The key factor was adopting the rule of law. This meant equal treatment for everybody, with “everybody” gradually spreading out over time until it now really does mean all adults. The rule of law greatly reduced the risks of trusting people who weren’t your relatives. Deirdre McCloskey goes into this at great length in “Bourgeois Equality”.

        Nearly as important was having divided rule. If one western country tried to block a worthwhile innovation, others that adopted it would gain an edge. This led to a bias in favour of innovation in the region. In bureaucratic China, India and the Ummah, innovations that hurt vested interests (i. e., all of them) got suppressed.

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          Religion and the rise of bureacratic organization are references to Tawney’s “Religion and the Rise of Capitalism” and though I haven’t read it — Weber’s “The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. It is also reference to Weber’s bureaucratic theory of management. Bateman emphasizes “women’s freedom is essential to growth”. I saw little to support that claim in this post.

          You propose: “the key factor was adopting the rule of law” with reference to Deirdre McCloskey and “Bourgeois Equality”. I have not read that work. Please explain further. I fail to see how the equal application of the law is sufficient to foster Capitalism. ‘Bad’ laws can be equally applied as well as ‘good’ laws. Perhaps the laws which are equally applied have further qualities. And just out of curiosity are you suggesting the U.S. laws are equally applied? Sometime in the past perhaps? What about rule of law when as the saying goes about the golden rule: Those with the gold make the rules?

      3. Greg

        On family planning as a cultural taboo, and how to implement it:-

        The example of Ireland is instructive. Family planning was a cultural taboo there until recently, but somehow Ireland managed for decades to have a lower fertility rate than the UK, just across the Irish Sea, which had no such taboo.

        You might object that Ireland’s girls were allowed in schools and so knew what to do. Well, look at Brazil. In poor parts of the country where families could not afford to send their kids to school, fertility rates started dropping as soon as TV broadcasts started. It’s called the telenovela effect – women see on TV other women just like them, but with only one or two children and much easier lives. They also see those TV women standing up for themselves, and holding jobs on a par with men.

        The telenovela effect holds in Sub-Saharan Africa and the impoverished parts of the Middle East and central Asia as well. Start TV broadcasts, watch fertility rates fall.

        So all over the world fertility rates are falling (and have been for decades), except in countries where the rate is already well below replacement. The only major exception is France, where the fertility rate is stable at replacement. As a result global population is expected to peak around 2060, despite increasing lifespans (with notably rare exceptions). That will help reduce climate pollution from what it was projected to be.

        Somehow cultural taboos are powerless in the face of TV and cellphones. So how do we implement family planning? Broadcast TV soaps, sell cellphones, and wait. (Or try to help the process along if you really can’t sit still. I don’t recommend that, though.)

        I’d also note that a culture that does not change is a dead culture, as al-Quaida’s die-hards are discovering.

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          You make an interesting argument which — as I understand it — suggests taboos are not material to “family planning and the education of girls” because the issue is no longer a concern — “somehow” in Ireland and in Brazil due to the “telenovela effect”. And “all over the world fertility rates are falling (and have been for decades), except in countries where the rate is already well below replacement”. In that case I we could argue Bateman’s concerns for “family planning and the education of girls” are unnecessary and the Project Syndicate may be a little behind the curve. I still wonder — if the “telenovela effect” is so powerful why hasn’t it been more effective in convincing the anti-abortion and anti-family planning groups in the U.S.? And how are the women where family-planning ‘tools’ are unavailable accomplishing their falling fertility rates?

  4. Susan the other

    Religion and economics are almost inseparable concepts/ideologies. Men have always been “full of the spirit” – women not so much. Both ideologies, for instance, think ponzi-population is good economics; growing populations are good for the economy. This same mindset is anti-environment and anti-feminist… because those are their favorite forms of exploitation. So the capitalist mindset is trapped in this circular thinking. By capitalist I mean any form of profit making beyond what is necessary to live a decent life. I think it’s all pretty delusional – but things are changing. Maybe one question is, Could women help run the world with less delusion? And another, Do people have a genetic fallback to delusion when they reach a point (boredom) where old habits fail to entertain us? Too bad good science can’t ask all the necessary, but crazy, questions.

    1. curious euro

      Ponzi-population is simply a fact of life. Actual life, since species that don’t prioritise reproduction are extinct species. The same applies of course to tribes or nations. Of course the pill is the greatest revolution against this ever but reproduction is in the end, way more important since if you prioritise the pill, the ones who don’t will outlast you for sure. This might change when a substantial part of the population aren’t naturally conceived and born anymore. Artificial wombs for mass usage are however very very science fiction at this point and I’m not even sure if that would be a desirable thing to have.

      As for women with less delusion than men. In what world are you living, certainly not in this one. Women usually need to work harder to reach an exalted position, but if I look at a few current examples: Mrs. Clinton, Warren and Merkel. They are all at least as deluded as the next man in a similar position, e.g. other politicians.

      1. xkeyscored

        True enough, but there is this, re the 2007/8 banking crisis:

        “Iceland’s banks all failed except one run by women” (<2 min)

        They suggest a role for testosterone in such matters, though personally I’ve always thought cocaine had an equally important part to play.

      2. Anarcissie

        ‘Ponzi-population is simply a fact of life.’

        To some extent, human beings have stepped out of Nature, and sooner or later are going to have to deal with that difficult fact. They can’t have the things they want and reproduce without limit, as bacteria and rabbits can, because they can’t count on the rest of Nature to kill most of them. We have departed from that Eden.

        1. fwe’zy

          Thank you for this nuance. I was struggling with the article and comments until I saw this. I don’t support gender essentialism (women are inherently this or that); production is key to any discussion about yooman “life.” Re-production is secondary.

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          Ohhh . . . I don’t know . . .

          If the surplus numbers of humans keep surplusing enough, I think nature will harvest most of the surplus back down to non-surplus levels, one way or another.

          Human population balance through self-control is preferable to the kind of human population balance re-imposition which nature will eventually re-impose. But in the end, nature will reveal humans to have been part of nature all long . . . superbugs, super-viruses, drug-immune tuberculosis, global warming mass-casualty heat-death mass thermocide . . . . nature has many tools in its toolbox.

  5. NoBrick

    Channeling Emerson:
    I am ashamed to think how easily we capitulate to badges and names,
    to large societies and dead institutions…

    Take two:
    I’m perplexed to think how easily “we” capitulate to the alienated institutionalization of life.

    Channeling Illich:
    Under the authoritative eye of the INSTITUTION, several orders of value
    collapse into one. The distinctions between morality, legality and
    personal worth are blurred and eventually eliminated. Each
    transgression is made to be felt as a multiple case. The offender is
    expected to feel that (s)he has broken a rule, that (s)he has behaved
    immorally, and that (s)he has let her/himself down…

    Is looking for love in all the wrong places the same as expecting “liberation” to be
    a “feature” of a lead role in an institutional cage?

    1. Anarcissie

      Well put. With particular respect to economics, what I have read (which is pretty minuscule but does now includes an as-yet unpublished textbook as well as much older and more traditional material) has always started out with all kinds of assumptions, instead of the basic phenomena on which the science is to be built. Thus all kinds of prejudices and blindnesses can be silently imported.

  6. David in Santa Cruz

    This is a good discussion to have on International Women’s Day. While I might differ with Dr. Bateman’s views on the monetization of the male gaze, I do think that she raises excellent points about reproductive rights and the economic success of the West.

    I see Climate Change as a symptom of global over-population, and global over-population as a symptom of the sexual and economic exploitation of women and girls. The control of women and their bodies appears to be a thread running through modern fascistic and theocratic systems; nations with low birth-rates and high economic participation by women appear to generally have a higher material quality of life.

    Dr. Bateman is quite correct to direct our attention to the role of sex and reproduction on economic and social success. Men like Bill Clinton and Jeffrey Epstein are slaves to the male gaze, and materialism and acquisitiveness appear to have a strong correlation to sexual predation. However, the statistic that fully half of pregnancies are unintended points out the material reality that women face very different economic consequences from their sexualization than do men.

    Empowering women — and protecting girls — is the only way that we are going to be able to save the planet. However, that empowerment means nothing if it is merely used as a means to manipulate the male gaze. There I must part company with Dr. Bateman.

  7. Jean

    “Black Death…obliterated half of Europe’s population in the 14th century, left a shortage of male labor and thus opened markets to women in ways that in turn shaped family structures…” How does China’s traditional aborting of female feti, leading to a shortage of female births, jive with it’s growth?

  8. Stephanie

    Two things come to mind reading this.

    First, a story. I was told that when my undergrad university, founded as a college for Catholic women, was pushing for a Phi Beta Kappa chapter in the late 30’s, there was some concern about the institution’s small endowment. The college‘a President, a nun, is said to have successfully counter-argued that the nuns who made up the faculty at the time were the endowment – their collective unpaid labor being the equivalent of a regular ol’ pile of money.

    Now, a question. This post (and comments!!!!) is an interesting juxtaposition with the earlier discussion of whether children should be quarantined during the current Coronavirus concern, and if so, who should care for them in the meantime. The lack of social slack – a dearth of spare, relatively healthy adults around to care for free for the young and the old because they now have paid work – may be creating a negative impact on both the economy and on public health. Will that impact be recognized and how?

  9. drumlin woodchuckles

    What if woman economists who want a Woman-Relevant and Woman-Respecting economics were to create their own Female Economist institutions, with their own Research Journals and their own everything else?

    Could they create a parallel discipline of Womanomics? Or Feminomics? Or whatever they want to call it? Could they use it as a crowbar to beat some respect out of the system for themselves?

  10. Scott1

    Families composed of men and women who like and respect each other & like the company of each other and establish compounds where they all have just enough space from each other to have some secrets tend to survive societal disruptions.
    Commitment to what and whom, anything, commitment is what gives life meaning. We do tend to envy those who in the end have been committed to each other for the long and short of it and have been partners. For one thing they are not so lonely and are from right there have time to do other things besides attempt to alleviate loneliness.
    Einstein and his first wife are an interesting story because he was saying something when he gave her the proceeds from his Nobel Prize.

    I am not able to here write on to pin all of the complexities of it down but I do want to take a moment to say that the founder and operator of Naked Capitalism Yves Smith or Susan Webber, has given us all a part of herself through the very existence of this wonderful site. I want to thank her personally for keeping it going and am sorry I have not been able to contribute more than I have. That remarkable women such as she is are in mine and your world is not to be taken for granted.

  11. Luke

    The OP is wrong about economies in so many ways it’s difficult to decide where to start on pointing out its errors of fact WRT history. Economists are normally fully aware of the productive advantages of Division of Labor. Women leaving the (premodern equivalent of) workplace to concentrate on the no less essential task of bearing/raising children and being supportive of a man who is freed to specialize in a paid vocation is near-universal for rising civilizations. Has no one here read Daniel Amneus’ (both free online) “The Garbage Generation” or Roger Devlin’s “Home Economics”? They’re both quite adept at describing this. Steve Moxon’s “The Woman Racket” is a good runner-up.

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