The Predator State and its prey
Susan Feiner discusses James Galbraith’s The Predator State over at Talking Point Memo Cafe’s Book Club. She likes it. The piece quickly segues to a discussion of women’s role in the workplace and at home.
Today’s vision of full-employment rightly includes women. But wait. If women are fully employed what’s going to happen to children too young for school? How many kids catch the school bus at 8:15 and have parents that leave for work at 7:30? The standard workday ends at 5:00 but the school day ends at 3:00. Then there’s the care of the elderly and the infirm. And please, don’t forget to wash the dishes. If the economy is really going to serve the public interest we have to deal with these realities.
And hints at the Bergmann effect:
Today’s liberals are likely to suggest flextime and long paid leaves to improve women’s economic condition. Nonsense. The breadwinner/dependent ideal relies on the same tired logic that seeks energy efficiency through deregulation and economic development through free trade.
This is only vaguely related, but it strikes me that those who advocate for a return to full employment policy spend too much time arguing about morality and compassion when they should be arguing that fiscal policy actually works. Don’t most Keynesian sceptics object to fiscal policy on practical grounds? An ethical argument is of no relevance if you haven’t convinced your opponents that your policy will work. In any case, as in so many areas, I declare myself firmly on the fence. Or lying underneath it. Or something.