"Who Pays for the Kids?" asks important questions about the burdens placed on women both inside and outside the money economy. The development of capitalism has brought women many opportunities and allowed them greater economic independence. But they continue to bear a disproportionate amount of the costs of caring for children. Despite the social programs of the welfare state, parents of young children, especially single mothers, are increasingly susceptible to poverty.
In this important study, well-known feminist economist Nancy Folbre demonstrates the inadequacies of traditional explanations for the unequal distribution of the "costs of caring" between men and women. Folbre offers an alternative to the emphasis on individual choice in neoclassical economics, class interests in Marxist economics and gender interests in traditional feminist theory. Her analysis examines individual choice within interlocking structures of constraint based on gender, age, sex, nation, race and class.
"Who Pays for the Kids?" maps out the complex interaction between the family, the market and the state. It compares political movements, state policies and social welfare in three regions of the world with very different race and class relations: the United States, Northwestern Europe and Latin America and the Caribbean. Written in a fresh and energetic style, the book offers a brilliant synthesis of feminist theory and political economy. Looking beyond recent debates on the relationship between capitalism and patriarchy, "Who Pays for the Kids?" explains why modern capitalist economies undervalue children and reinforce inequalities based on gender and age.
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