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Reading Group: After the Family Wage (NickS)

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.23.17

NickS writes: Overview

I believe that the simplest description of the essay is: if we ask the question, "do welfare programs promote gender equality?" we find that both "welfare programs" and "gender equality" require further definition. I note, however, that description is debatable. One of interesting questions about the essay is deciding what the purpose is. I take it as presenting a series of analytical categories and then demonstrating how they can be used. However, one could easily consider the purpose of the essay to be advocating for ambitious and challenging social reform, with the analytical categories serving to demonstrate why great breath and ambition is required. So I would encourage people to keep that idea in mind as well.

Summary

In terms of gender equity Fraser notes a long-standing tension between theorists who believe that there are (or may be) fundamental differences between men and women and equity demands figuring out how both sides can have equal value, rather than treating one as superior (or the default) and the other as inferior (or the exception). In contrast with that other theorists feel like any differences are not fundamental and that the goal should be to treat men and women as identically as possible. The second group is concerned that any time we divide things into separate groups it is extremely likely that one will be considered more desirable than the other and create/sustain a gender hierarchy.

Fraser argues that the fact that this argument is so long-running is itself a sign that we should recognize that "gender equity" is not a simple or unitary concept. She proposes seven elements each of which, she argues, can be considered a core element of "gender equity" and recognizes that any efforts towards gender equity will advance some of them more than others. We should think in terms of emphasis and trade-offs rather than a linear progression towards a goal. Fraser will ultimately compare how well two conceptions of the welfare state address the seven areas of concern. There is even a handy chart summarizing these results, and by the time we get there you may be tired of seeing lists of component elements.

But, first, we have the seven categories of gender equity which are:


read more »



 

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Reading Group: After the Family Wage

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.22.17

Lifting from the comments, Criminally Bulgar writes: can we do Unfogged reading groups for essays? This one would be an interesting discussion:

What new, postindustrial gender order should replace the family wage? And what sort of welfare state can best support such a new gender order? What account of gender equity best captures our highest aspirations? And what vision of social welfare comes closest to embodying it?
Two different sorts of answers are currently conceivable, I think, both of which quality as feminist. The first I call the Universal Breadwinner model. It is the vision implicit in the current political practice of most U.S. feminists and liberals. It aims to foster gender equity by promoting women's employment; the centerpiece of this model is state provision of employment-enabling services such as day care. The second possible answer I call the Caregiver Parity model. It is the vision implicit in the current political practice of most Westem European feminists and social democrats. It aims to promote gender equity chiefly by supporting informal carework; the centerpiece of this model is state provision of caregiver allowances.

Heebie's take: Things to determine in this thread:
1. Who is interested in reading this and having a discussion group?
2. Who might not read but is still generally in favor of reading and participating in the posts that result?
3. Is this one single scheduled discussion, or does it need to be broken into chunks?
4. Volunteers for writing either the singular post, or writing up a chunk?

Bumped: Is tomorrow still good for everyone?



 

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Guest Post - Urban/Rural Divide

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.22.17

Nick S. writes: Matthew Yglesias summarizes new research about the gap between rich and poor states.

America in the Gilded Age was a starkly unequal place, not just in terms of inequality between people but inequality between regions. Long-settled, fast-industrializing states in the Northeast were far richer than those of the West or the South, which had many fewer factories, railroads, and other kinds of capital goods that allowed for productive work and high wages. But around 1880 that began to change, and for 100 years, income gaps between states slowly converged at a rate of about 1.8 percent per year.

But since 1980, that process has began to slow, and over the past decade it's essentially stopped entirely. Today, Massachusetts's GDP per capita is about double what you find in Mississippi -- roughly equivalent to the gap between Switzerland and Slovakia -- and it's not getting any narrower.

Because people have stopped moving from poor states to richer states

This set of four charts in Ganong and Shoag's paper tells the fundamental story -- in the old days, there was a strong tendency for poor states' per capita incomes to grow faster than those of rich ones and an equally strong tendency for people to move away from poor states to go live in rich ones. But in recent years, the income convergence trend has slowed and the migration pattern has reversed.

...

This chart shows that until 1990 or so, both skilled and unskilled workers could improve their standard of living, even considering housing costs, by moving to a high-income state. But the net gains for unskilled workers began to diminish sharply, and by 2010 a typical low-skill household was actually worse off in a high-income state due to the even higher housing costs.

Traditionally, in other words, both lawyers and janitors earned more in the New York City area than they did in the Deep South. Today, "lawyers continue to earn much more in the New York area in both nominal terms and net of housing costs, but janitors now earn less in the New York area after subtracting housing."

The result is that less skilled workers now tend to eschew the highest-wage, highest-cost locations -- creating a powerful counterpressure to other forces that would otherwise drive regional income convergence.


Yglesias argues that this is strong evidence that we need more housing construction in wealthy areas (a familiar topic for him), but I would make a few other observations:

1) It's interesting research, which is slightly depressing, taken by itself, but encouraging if it points to a more precise diagnosis of what's occurring.

2) It obviously connects to what's going on in American politics. Post-election there were many articles which argues both that left and right look like two different nations living in the same country, and that Democrats did much better in urban areas which are also the sites of the greatest economic growth at the moment. These two are probably connected. The situation that Yglesias describes would lead to very different political concerns in different areas.

3) Telecommuting does not appear to be solving the problem by may be a reason for optimism.

4) Personally I hope that the solution to geographic inequalities isn't just for everyone to move to more prosperous places; because lots of people don't want to move. It's a thorny issue (that we've talked about before in terms of the rust belt communities), but one that affects me. I like a couple hours away from Seattle and I always tell people that I feel lucky that I've been able to have successful work without having to move to Seattle (which seemed likely in my 20s), even if that means that I've made less than I would have, because I'd rather not live there if I don't have to. But at the moment, with Seattle having an impressive economic boom, it makes me think again about the challenge of balancing the financial and non-financial decisions about moving.

It is an awkward dynamic when one region is clearly doing way better than some of the neighboring areas.

Heebie's take
: Never forget the immoral suburbs and their nation-wrecking voting habits, for it is at their feet that all blame lays. I get that this takeaway doesn't apply particularly well to this post, but a lost opportunity to lay the blame is a crime.



 

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Red Herrings

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 08.21.17

To what extent are you worried about the civil war monuments becoming a distraction to things like voting rights and gerrymandering and judge nominees? It's like that Clickhole headline about upstanding Republicans worrying that Trump is interfering with their ability to purge voter lists.

A slightly different thing I worry about is that this issue will tempt a large swath of uninformed people into feeling like "Both sides are overreacting over a silly statue!" That the monuments are are not salient enough for most people the way the presence of Nazis is salient. Middle ground is a very attractive landing spot, and I'm wary of issues that make it seem like a safe way to hedge your bets. (The reason this is slightly different than the first paragraph is that Nazis do not tempt large swaths of uninformed people into the middle ground, but Nazis also distract from discriminatory policy.)

That said, I'm also sick of factions debating on the left. Yes, absolutely, the statues should come down this instant because they're fucking peons to white supremacy and it is disgusting.

I guess maybe my point is irritation with the vast middle to will be both-sidesy about the statues but then also not give fuck-all about voting rights being restricted. I don't actually think the statues are red herrings even though that's the title of the post. Or maybe I do. I don't know anything.



 

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Plan My Tourist Day In San Francisco

Posted by LizardBreath
on 08.19.17

And then have an early dinner with me before my flight? I'm dropping Sally off in Santa Cruz on the 12th, but I'm going to sleep in Oakland and spend the 13th doing something touristy until I have to make an 11:14 redeye back home.

First, tell me what to do all day -- I'll have a car and no particular pre-existing plans. Second, who wants to meet at 6 and have dinner? I'll be able to hang out until a little after 8, I figure, although I'll be driving so I won't be able to drink.



 

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