How do you get your dinner? That is the basic question of economics. It might seem easy, but it is actually very complicated.
When Adam Smith proclaimed that all our actions were motivated by self-interest and the world turned because of financial gain he laid the foundations for 'economic man'. Selfish and cynical, 'economic man' has dominated our thinking ever since, the ugly rational heart of modern day capitalism.
But every night Adam Smith's mother served him his dinner, not out of self-interest, but out of love. Even today, the unpaid work of mothering, caring, cleaning and cooking is not part of our economic models. All over the world, there are economists who believe that if women are paid less, then that's because their labour is worth less.
In this engaging, popular look at the mess we're in, Katrine Marçal charts the myth of 'economic man', from its origins at Adam Smith's dinner table to its adaptation by the Chicago School and finally its disastrous role in the 2008 Global Financial Crisis - she looks at how women are left out of the study of economics and human behaviour, and how this affects human understanding of world economy.
Katrine Marçal is a Swedish writer living in London. She's presently the UK correspondent for Dagens Nyheter, Sweden's most prestigious daily newspaper.
This is economics through a wholly different – and feminist – prism ... Challenging and illuminating.
Nominated to Sweden’s most important literary prize, The August Literary Award, in the category of Best Swedish Non Fiction book 2012
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