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

Front Cover
Portobello Books, 2016 - Business & Economics - 240 pages
How do you get your dinner? That is the basic question of economics. When economist and philosopher Adam Smith proclaimed that all our actions were motivated by self-interest, he used the example of the baker and the butcher as he laid the foundations for 'economic man.' He argued that the baker and butcher didn't give bread and meat out of the goodness of their hearts. It's an ironic point of view coming from a bachelor who lived with his mother for most of his life -- a woman who cooked his dinner every night.Nevertheless, the economic man has dominated our understanding of modern-day capitalism, with a focus on self-interest and the exclusion of all other motivations. Such a view point disregards the unpaid work of mothering, caring, cleaning and cooking. It insists that if women are paid less, then that's because their labor is worth less. Economics has told us a story about how the world works and we have swallowed it, hook, line and sinker. This story has not served women well. Now it's time to change it. A kind of feminist Freakonomics, Who Cooked Adam Smith's Dinner? charts the myth of economic man -- from its origins at Adam Smith's dinner table, its adaptation by the Chicago School, and its disastrous role in the 2008 Global Financial Crisis -- in a witty and courageous dismantling of one of the biggest myths of our time.

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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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About the author (2016)

Katrine Mar al is a correspondent for the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter. On publication in Sweden, Who Cooked Adam Smith's Dinner was shortlisted for The August Prize and won the Lagercrantzen Award. She lives in Hertfordshire.

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