[Parentsgroup-list] last time, I swear :)

Christine Dianne Wenc wenc at fas.harvard.edu
Sun Jul 31 23:22:55 EDT 2005


I know I'm violating my own new ground rules, but this is the last speech,
I promise!!  I am enjoying the conversation.  Just delete if you don't
want to hear it.

One comment on the military, which is hardly a left-wing institution--they
apparently have one of the best child-care services in the United
States--excellent, low-cost care for the kids of servicemen & women.

And one comment on maternity leaves--This is just one part of the
picture as far as I'm concerned.  I think many more families
could be one-income families if we had a higher minimum wage, were far
more supportive of labor unions, and had national health insurance.  I
don't think many women put their babies in day care after 6 weeks because
they feel empty without their careers--they do it because their families
need the money.  (After all, most working women are
NOT lawyers and radical academics--they are secretaries & retail salespeople.)

There was an article in the NYT recently about how many
American cities--including Boston--are losing their
children because families cannot afford to live there, only single people
& couples without children.  This seems so absurd and wrong, and to me
epitomizes the outcome of our economic policies that take as their normal
economic unit the individual unencumbered
adult, not families.  Dependents have no place in capitalism because they
cannot be productive, and capitalism wants everyone working to increase producers'
profits (and doesn't give a damn about ANY family structure as far as I
can see).  But this also happens simultanously with a culture that still
has a really hard time with women being something other than stay-at-home
mothers, and a feminist movement which has mostly been concerned with
increasing women's opportunity in our highly individualist economic
system.  (The last serious attempt at getting maternity leaves & child
care was in 1974--shot down by a Nixon veto.)

So we have no maternity leaves and no child care, because these
support working mothers (conservative p.o.v.) or encourage the maternalist
idea that women are essentially mothers (feminist p.o.v.).  But at the
same time, due to our economic policies most families now can't survive on
one income, so many women--and some men--work outside the home whether or not
they really want to, and maternity leave/child care policy is set by the
market.  Capitalism is destroying the American family more than anything
else.


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