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Gender, Greed, and Lust: A History of Economic Ideas [Hardcover]

Nancy Folbre

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Book Description

Nov. 13 2009
When does the pursuit of self interest go too far, lapsing into morally unacceptable behaviour? Today's economists often seem unconcerned with this question, even cheerfully suggesting that "greed is good." A closer look, however, suggests that greed and lust are generally considered good only for men, and then only outside the realm of family life. The history of Western economic ideas shows that men have given themselves more cultural permission than women for the pursuit of both economic and sexual self-interest. Feminists have long contested the boundaries of this permission, demanding more than the mere freedom to act more like men. Women have gradually gained the power to revise our conceptual and moral maps and to insist on a better-as well as less gendered--balance between self interest and care for others. This book brings women's work, their sexuality, and their ideas into the center of the dialectic between economic history and the history of economic ideas. It describes a spiralling process of economic and cultural change in Great Britain, France, and the United States since the 18th century that shaped the evolution of patriarchal capitalism and the larger relationship between production and reproduction. This feminist reinterpretation of our past holds profound implications for today's efforts to develop a more humane and sustainable vision of global economic development.

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A lively survey of economic thought from the late seventeenth century to the present... A thought-provoking and entertaining read. Katie Barclay, Women's History Network Magazine. Provides an original and comprehensive intellectual history of gender-related economic issues that may well complement - and challenge - more traditional histories of economic ideas. Daniela Donnini Maccio, Storia del pensiero economico. The story is complicated, interesting and well worth telling. Folbre tells it well. She brings to bear an impressive measure of erudition and analytical sweep to knit together themes from very disperate thinkers and very diverse times into a largely coherent whole. Indraneel Dasgupta, The Economic Record

About the Author

Nancy Folbre, Professor of Economics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, has won international recognition for her research on the interface between feminist theory and political economy. Her empirical research focuses on the amount and value of time devoted to care of dependents. In addition to many journal articles, she has published a number of books including The Invisible Heart: Economics and Family Values (New Press, 2001) and four editions of the popular Field Guide to the U.S. Economy. A recipient of a five-year fellowship from the MacArthur Foundation, she is also a Charlotte Perkins Gilman Fellow of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, a past president of the International Association for Feminist Economics and an Associate Editor of the journal Feminist Economics.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
5.0 out of 5 stars great book! April 20 2013
By Free Bird - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Contains a discussion of the history of economic ideas, but from a feminist perspective. Has some interesting writing and ideas.

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