A feminist critique of new-liberalism.
How do you get your dinner? That is the basic question of economics. It might seem easy, but it is actually very complicated. When economist and philosopher Adam Smith proclaimed that all our actions were motivated by self-interest, and that the world turns because of financial gain, he laid the foundations for 'economic man’.
Selfish and cynical, 'economic man' has dominated our thinking ever since — he is the ugly rational heart of modern day capitalism. But, every night, Adam Smith's mother served him his dinner, not out of self-interest, but out of love. Even today, the unpaid work of mothering, caring, cleaning, and cooking is not part of our economic models. All over the world, there are economists who believe that if women are paid less, it’s because their labour is worth less.
In this engaging, popular look at the mess we're in, Katrine Marçal charts the myth of economic man, from its origins at Adam Smith's dinner table, its adaptation by the Chicago School, and, finally its disastrous role in the 2008 Global Financial Crisis — and invites us to kick out economic man once and for all.
‘Incisive and witty, Who Cooked Adam Smith's Dinner? seeks to restore a sense of humanity, empathy and care to our picture of economic and gender relations. Katrine Marçal’s book is instructive, angry and funny: economic man has met his match.’
Nina Power, author of One Dimensional Woman
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‘This is economics through a wholly different — and feminist — prism … Challenging and illuminating’
‘The word economy comes from the Greek oikos, meaning home, and yet until recently, economists failed to factor home economics — women’s unpaid work — into their equations … As Katrine Marçal so wittily shows, this masculine construction is a myth that ignores the irrational, emotional and often altruistic reality of our lives … This wonderfully accessible and entertaining book empowers readers to question the economic ‘‘truths’’ that have come to dominate our lives.’
Fiona Capp, Sydney Morning Herald