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Beschreibung des Verlags
It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we can expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest
When Adam Smith wrote that all our actions stem from self-interest and the world turns because of financial gain he brought to life 'economic man'. Selfish and cynical, economic man has dominated our thinking ever since and his influence has spread from the market to how we shop, work and date. But every night Adam Smith's mother served him his dinner, not out of self-interest but out of love.
Today, our economics focuses on self-interest and excludes all other motivations. It disregards the unpaid work of mothering, caring, cleaning and cooking. It insists that if women are paid less, then that's because their labour is worth less - how could it be otherwise?
Economics has told us a story about how the world works and we have swallowed it, hook, line and sinker. Now it's time to change the story.
In this courageous look at the mess we're in, Katrine Marcal tackles the biggest myth of our time and invites us to kick out economic man once and for all.
Journalist Marcal won several awards for the original Swedish edition of this book, but the translation, although wittily written, is meandering and slow-paced, making it a tough match for an American audience. Using Adam Smith's iconic "economic man" as a trope on which to hang her argument, Marcal discusses the appeal of the narrative of the driven, profit-making man, which has left women whose jobs have only shifted from in-home to out-of-home relatively recently lagging. She suggests that "maybe the changes achieved by the women's movement in the last 40 years... have simply highlighted an inherent contradiction in society between care work and competition." Marcal's discussion of the economic philosophy behind the gender wage gap and the "broken promises" of feminism is interesting, but the framing device of using historical figures such as Adam Smith (and the person in question who cooked his dinner Margaret Douglas, his mother) never really gets off the ground. More narrative than prescriptive, more food for thought than fount of answers, this ambitious but too-slim book will have a hard time finding readers outside of the European market.