Who Cooked Adam Smith's Dinner?: A Story about Women and Economics

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Scribe Publications, 2015 - Capitalism - 230 pages

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.

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User Review  - arewenotben - LibraryThing

Great in the parts when it addresses the book's advertised point regarding a feminist reading of economic theory, but this covers only around a third of the book with more general economic criticism filling the rest. Interesting enough, if a little 101, but not what I signed up for. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - jen.e.moore - LibraryThing

Economic theory is based around the idea of Economic Man - a perfectly rational individual whose only relationships with other people are in trade or in competition (all traditionally masculine traits ... Read full review

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