Gender, Greed, and Lust: A History of Economic Ideas

Hardcover | November 13, 2009

byNancy Folbre

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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 goodonly 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 thatshaped 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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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 goodonly for men, and then only outside the realm o...

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 ha...
Format:HardcoverDimensions:272 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.98 inPublished:November 13, 2009Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199238421

ISBN - 13:9780199238422

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. The Eye of the Needle2. The Springs of Desire3. Defining Virtues4. Of God and Greed5. The Limits of Affection6. The Perfectibility of Man7. The Greatest Good8. Self-Love, the Mainspring9. Production and Reproduction10. Whose Wealth?11. The Social Family12. Equal Opportunities13. The Subjection of Women14. Declaring Independence15. The Icy Waters16. Masculinity and Markets17. Sex, Babies and Social Motherhood18. The Unproductive Housewife19. The Altruistic Family20. Identities and InterestsConclusion