127. Feminism, an industrialist's dream

I realise I am about to open a huge hornets nest, but in thinking about the incorporation of women to the workplace in the 50s and 60s, a critical step on the emancipation of women, as many would tell you, I cannot help but thinking also about the impact that this had on the value of labour in its ages old to and fro with capital for the share of the wealth created in the economy. By doubling the supply of labour overnight, it over time halved its value. The result is that a working couple today has, all else being equal, similar relative acquisitive power to a one worker couple in the 60s, whilst corporate profits have exploded since. This is a bad deal for workers and a capitalist dream. Women should, of course, have access to the workplace in fully equal terms, but the way this should work, in the interest of the working class, should have been with one of the couple, it does not matter who, entering the labour force, thus preserving the unit value of labour and the price it commands

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Comments

Melkisecebe said…
As long as corporations are designed to maximize profit, social changes will always be twisted to erode workers rights. Many different things could have happened when women started being part of the labour force. As you mention, a free and not gender biased choice in couples for work. We could also be all working half time (can you imagine? 3 days a week each in a family? That would have been heaven). Of course it was not like that, because while the aim of feminism was to achieve equal rights for women, these rights are achieved within the frame of capitalism. Another good option to achieve equal rights for women would have been to monetarize all the unpaid work that they have been doing for centuries absolutely free, raising also their total status. Women could have got money and social power by caring of kids and elders, cooking and cleaning. Unpaid activities that, by the way, are absolutely necessary for the system to survive. It did not happen for the same reason, how would the law of maximum profit accept to pay for something that is already being done for free?
When you aim to be fast, you run; when aim to eat, you look for food. When your aim is to accumate goods, you maximize profit over everything else. That is the aim of our current social system and that is what we get. And that is why robots will do everything and we will have no jobs or income, it is cheaper, it is better, some will be richer and they will Not care about the rest.
Niccy said…
Feminism is not the positive liberator that it purports to be. That's for sure.

It's a hornets nest that needs to be opened, like so many other things, and talked about. Like so many other things, there is no black and white single answer, and those things that are most worth discussing and addressing don't come with those neat and simple answers.
Elia said…
Estoy de acuerdo
SantiDominguezV said…
Thank you for the comments, guys, I reply to all of them in one. Of course, women should have exactly the same access to the workplace as men do, the same prospects for career growth and the same work/life balance. The problem occurs when the feminist dialectic opposes man's power, rather than the power of some. Feminists (and women in general) should work with most men (I think it is most, but however many men believe in equal rights) to further the prospects and rights of all, indistinctly of gender. It is unnecessary to make a distinction. And yes, we should, as a consequence of women joining the workplace in vast numbers, all be working 3 days per week and sharing house work and child rearing, which should indeed be remunerated (with a basic income). Basic income is in fact probably the most implementable solution to these problems and, even though it is strongly resisted by many (mostly those doing well and who don't need it), the advent of automation and machines may well make it inevitable. It is also easy to afford, just taxing properly corporate profits and large wealth (for example, a 30% tax of Jeff Bezos wealth would suffice to pay a €600 basic income to all Greek, Romanian, Bulgarian and Hungarian citizens over 18), bringing them along economically,increasing their acquisitive power which would help reactivate the EU economy and liberating them to take more risk both with job selection and entrepreneurship.

I do think it is probably pretty obvious to anyone who is not seriously sick where the money is better deployed...

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