Little Red Blogger

This blog looks at radical politics(with a libertarian socialist slant), music and culture. Marx to Mises, Girls Aloud to Steve Reich...

Location: Wiltshire, United Kingdom

Saturday, June 11, 2005

The Politics of Fatherhood, A Mutualist Meditates: Part 1

As many of my former readers would have noticed, I have not been posting very much lately, so my apologies. I have a fairly legitimate excuse, fatherhood and a new job...but these experiences have led me to think about how society is structured(or not) around childcare and how the modern nuclear family reconciles the demands of looking after young children.

Looking at how childcare duties are handed out can reveal alot of cultural assumptions behind women and men's roles and can tell us exactly how far Feminism has succeeded in what Germain Greer would term 'liberating' women. Looking at the reality of the situation does not make for a pretty sight with women still baring the large majority of childcare roles. This then leads to the question of why?, why do women 'a' put up with the status quo and 'b' what do men get out of it. A full answer to this question would require lots of multi-disciplinary research across economics, sociology, anthropology and cultural theory, but I would like to sketch out a few ideas briefly about why the current situation as is it is.

Firstly, and I think most importantly men gain hugely from the current situation, women by taking on these childcare roles, largely unpaid and uncompensated save men a fortune. Studies have been done showing the value of all the uncompensated labour carried out by women and it would comprise a large part of the economy if recognised. The second effect of women taking on childcare roles is that private corporations and government retain their hierarchical, dictatorial nature and co-opt the worst aspects of the male need to maintain status in the rat race. There has been some superficial changes to accommodate women who have children, but essentially the 'commanding heights' of the economy remain a male preserve. The modern corporation talks a good game about being decentralised while maintaining the iron disciplines of total surveillance and neo-taylorist time and motion management. Women stand even less of a chance in this environment than men, with corporations exploiting their sub-ordinate status to pay less than men.

The cost of producing new workers then becomes an externalities subsidised by the state and buttressed by the state and private schooling system. To the modern streamlined corporation women baring children is an 'irrationality' that has to managed but never addressed properly by changing the fundamentals of how they are organised and arranged