Feminist Economics - Cuts are a Feminist Issue

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Class three of three on feminist economics, hosted by the Belfast Feminist Network

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Feminist Economics - Cuts are a Feminist Issue

  1. 1. Feminist Economics 3: Cuts are a Feminist Issue 19 June 2014 Belfast Feminist Network Realta Social Space Dr. Conor McCabe King St. Belfast UCD School of Social Justice
  2. 2. By the end of the nineteenth century, most economists had come to agree that all paid services should be considered productive, and many advocated the term “unproductive” be dropped from the language of their discipline. Yet, almost to a man, they also agreed that nonmarket services lay outside the realm of economics and therefore did not contribute to economic growth. While paid domestic servants were considered part of the labour force, unpaid domestic workers were not. Nonmarket production – a wife’s work in the home, for instance – was implicitly defined as unproductive. Nancy Folbre, ‘The Unproductive Housewife: Her Evolution in Nineteenth-Century Thought’, Signs, Spring 1991; 16, 3, p.470
  3. 3. Census data consist of ordered sets of numbers. They appear objective and value- free, but their meaning grows out of socially constructed concepts that are laden with cultural and political values. “Statistical reports exemplify the process by which visions of reality, models of social structure, were elaborated and revised,” writes Joan Scott [in Gender and History, 1988) Nancy Folbre, ‘The Unproductive Housewife: Her Evolution in Nineteenth-Century Thought’, Signs, Spring 1991; 16, 3, p.463-4.
  4. 4. Over the past thirty years, despite being essential to human life, neoliberal restructuring across the world has privatised, eroded and demolished our shared resources, and ushered in a ‘crisis of social reproduction.’ ‘Cuts are a Feminist Issue’, Soundings (Dec 2011), p.73.
  5. 5. research
  6. 6. activism
  7. 7. The purpose of capitalism is self-expansion – capital begets capital – and it does so by monetizing social value and human labour. This is a circuit of transformation. Immanuel Wallerstein, Historical Capitalism (London: Verso, 2011), 15.
  8. 8. Over the last quarter of a century something fundamental seems to have changed in the way in which capitalism works. The tendency since 1970 has been towards greater geographical mobility of capital.
  9. 9. Rational Economic Man • An autonomous agent • able bodied, independent, rational, heterosexual male who is able to choose from an number of options limited only by certain constraints. • Weighs cost and benefits to maximise utility • Self interested in marketplace; altruistic at home
  10. 10. 11 May 2010 Dear Chief Secretary, I'm afraid to tell you there's no money left. Sincerely, Liam Byrne. chief secretary to the Treasury.
  11. 11. “The British Government has run out of money because all the money was spent in the good years.” George Osborne, 25 February 2012
  12. 12. “So we cannot just carry on as we are. Unless we reform our economy - rebalance demand, restructure banking, and restore the sustainability of our public finances - we shall not only jeopardise recovery, but also fail the next generation.” Mervyn King,TUC Conference, 15 September 2010.
  13. 13. 5 March 2009. QE : £75 billion 10 October 2011. QE : £75 billion 2009 – 2011. corporate bond purchase via asset purchase facility : £375 billion 2012: Monetary Policy Committee approve a further £50 billion. “So we cannot just carry on as we are. Unless we reform our economy - rebalance demand, restructure banking, and restore the sustainability of our public finances - we shall not only jeopardise recovery, but also fail the next generation.” Mervyn King,TUC Conference, 15 September 2010.
  14. 14. Long Term Refinancing Operations (LTRO) 21 December 2011: €489.2 billion to 523 banks – 3yrs @ 1 per cent 29 February 2012: €529.5 billion to 800 banks – 3yrs @ 1 per cent
  15. 15. Long Term Refinancing Operations (LTRO) 21 December 2011: €489.2 billion to 523 banks – 3yrs @ 1 per cent 29 February 2012: €529.5 billion to 800 banks – 3yrs @ 1 per cent “Some banks, particularly in Spain and Italy, used portions of those funds to buy higher-yielding bonds issued by their governments at a time when most investors remained skittish, and it helped reduce government borrowing costs. But many banks primarily used the funds to pay down maturing debts or simply deposited the money at other banks or with the ECB itself, even though they yield less. The infusion fell short of some politicians' hope that it would stimulate bank lending to customers in struggling European economies.” Wall Street Journal, 1 March 2012

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