Book: Who cooked Adam Smith's dinner?
Beyond the reach of the invisible hand there is the invisible sex.
Katrine Marcal authored this book to tell the story of women and economics in which she employs loads of humour to bring attention to grave issues. She titled the book 'who cooked Adam Smith's dinner?" which essentially points to all the activities that are not considered in the economic realm but are absolutely essential in the functioning of society.
Adam Smith is widely considered as the father of modern economics and capitalism and his invisible mother cooked dinner and cared for him all his life. In his very popular book "wealth of nations" he devised an idea called "invisible hand" which is economic concept that describes the unintended greater social benefits and public good brought about by individuals acting in their own self-interests.
Modern economics was modelled on the idea of economic man who works for his own self interest. Katrine speaks about how for the man to be selfish, there needed to be a counterpart who was selfless and that became the role of the women. The work that women did, did not matter in the economic sense. Even to this day reproduction, child nurturing and house work is not an economic activity although they are extremely crucial in the survival of human species.
Somebody has to be emotion, so he can be reason. Somebody has to be dependent, so he can be independent. Somebody has to be tender, so he can conquer the world. Somebody has to be self-sacrificing, so he can be selfish. Somebody has to prepare that dinner so Adam Smith can say their labour doesn't matter.
Katrine critically examines the masculinity that runs deep through the global economic system and points out neoliberalism as gatekeeper of patriarchy.
Woman has entered the job market but man has not entered the home to the same extent.
Economic man around whom the economy is modelled is devoid of anything other than reason and self interest. This stands in direct conflict of what we understand of ourselves. Anthropology's central question of 'what it is to be human?' has rendered answers about the complexity of the so called 'human nature'.
The body, emotions, dependency, insecurity and vulnerability. The parts of reality that for thousands of years society has told woman she belongs to. He tells us they don't exist. Because he can't handle it.