Skip to main content

Feminist Economics

I have a some-what secret obsession...economics.

I've only taken one economics course and I HAD to take it for my master's degree. I dreaded it like nothing I've ever taken before - Yes, even Organic Chemistry was less of a dread. My freshman year of college, my roommate's (not the hubby!) dad was a well-known economist. He had held positions in I think the Bush I administration and kept bugging me to take economics. "You're a smart girl and I think you'd like it." GAG! Economics? Learning about the market forces that I knew were keeping poor people poor?

Well, yes...I really did need to know about that.

That said, during my econ course, I swear I must have made the instructor so upset that he wanted to kill me. This was microecon I...total intro to econ course, thus reality was to be left at the door. Except that NO ONE told me that!

I vividly recall one night where he was talking market forces, supply & demand, and why local entities shouldn't tax businesses because there will always be a town down the road that will lower their taxes for the right business. He then went to make the case that we as employees were the same. That health care packages were like tax breaks. If we were unsatisfied with our health care package, we can always go find another job.

WTF!?

My arm shot up and I argued. "Um, not everyone has the luxury to go and find another job." We argued for quite some time until I realized that I wasn't going to win and he wasn't going to stray from the party line.

That's why I was PSYCHED to read that Allison from Shameless has a feminist economics blog! It's called Economic Woman and you should must check it out. Don't worry, as much as I am a nrrd, I'm not Alex P. Keaton...I need my economics translated into human talk as much as the next grrl.

There's also this piece from Beacon Broadside on how my generation is failing to do even just as good as our parents. Err...well in a general sense anyway. My parents & the hubby's parents really struggled to do half the things we can do for our daughter today. Yet, despite us making more money than I believe all three of our parents make together, we still aren't living la vida loca the way were to told growing up. As poor Latin@ kids we were told that if we just worked hard enough we could go to college and get good jobs and not worry about money. Of course student loans and a craptastic economy wasn't in that scenario. Nan Mooney brings us these fantabulous statistics:

  • Consider these statistics: College tuitions have gone up 35 percent in the past five years. The average college graduate today carries close to $20,000 in student loan debt. For those who also attend graduate school, the average debt rises to $46,000.

  • In the late 80s, 56 percent of major corporations still believed that “employees who are loyal to the company and further its business goals deserve an assurance of continued employment.” By the late 90s, that number dropped to just 6 percent.

  • Health care premiums have increased at five times the rate of inflation since 2000. 46.6 million Americans lack health insurance, almost twice as many as in 1980.

  • Between 1992 and 2005 CEO pay — including wages, bonuses and stock options — rose a staggering 186 percent, while the average worker experienced an income gain of just 7 percent.

  • The United States is one of only two industrialized countries in the world that doesn’t offer paid maternity leave to its citizens. In an international survey compiled by the Project on Global Working Families, out of over 168 countries studied, 96 guarantee paid annual leave, 45 also guarantee some form of paid paternal leave for fathers, and 37 mandate paid leave specifically designated for caring for sick children. The U.S. is not among them.

  • The net worth of black and Latino college graduates is similar to the net worth of white high school graduates.

  • In 1949, mortgages were equal to 19.7 percent of disposable income; in 2000, they had risen to 66 percent; in 2005, they reached 96 percent of disposable income.

  • The wealthiest 400 tax payers in the country now pay the same percentage of their earnings in income, Social Security and Medicare taxes as families earning $50,000 to $75,000 a year, those at the heart of the middle class.

  • 2005 was the first year since the Great Depression in which Americans spent more than they earned.

So if you're still in college and have access to an econ class...take it. It'll pay off in you being able to use fancy economic words when people shrug and say, "It's market forces!"

Technorati tags: feminism, economics

Comments

Anonymous said…
Coming in from NaComLeavMo . . .
Those statistics are horrible. I definitely don't have a very good understanding of economics, but the way things are right now is just depressing. (Especially with gas prices that keep going up and up. Grrr.)
Anonymous said…
Great post, thanks! I remember thinking econ was B-O-R-I-N-G until I took it (as a highschool class) and caught a glimpse of how all these seemingly vague forces affect our lives and shape our society. Kind of scary really! Also interesting how you can follow the money to see trends in society like racism.

I hope to check out those links when I'm not madly doing NacomLeavMo!
Anonymous said…
Another new blog about feminist perspectives on economics is now up. Check out www.economics-she-wrote.org

Blogger Susan Feiner, Professor of Economics and Director of Women's & Gender Studies (at University of Southern Maine)is writing about economics from a feminist perspective. She is keen to answer questions from sisters around the world.

Hope to hear from you soon! Best, Susan
Veronica said…
Another Evergreener! OMG, that might have to rank as my #1 mistake - not going there. *sigh* Life turned out pretty darn good anyway. ;)

Thanks for the link Susan. I'll certainly will check out your blog and add it to my reader. I see you're a newbie, so if I can be of ANY help blogging wise, please let me know. I love helping new feminist bloggers!

Popular posts from this blog

Is there love after abortion?

Over two years ago , way before I started writing for Girl w/Pen, Alison Piepmeier wowed me with an essay about getting an abortion and how her decision made with her husband was a love story : ...the story I most want to tell—and one I have never heard—is of abortion as an intimate part of a couple’s life together.  Our abortion was a love story. I’d worried that Walter and I were rejecting a gift from the universe.  What I discovered, though, was that when we stripped away the distractions of everyday life so that we could make this difficult decision together, it bound us together as surely as if our choice had been different—and as it turns out, that was the gift. Every once in awhile their story returns to me. I often don't know why it stumbles into my brain and says, "Hey! Ponder me!" but it does. This morning it returned to me yelling, "Why?!" I was half-listening to WBEZ's 848 and some story about a man running away from his life. Original, I kn

Book Review: Wolfpack by Abby Wambach

Less than a year ago, Abby Wambach took the stage at Barnard's commencement and gave a speech that shook many, including myself, to the core . Her speech went viral and I made the above image in order to share the highlights of her speech. Earlier this month Abby released the speech in book form. Wolfpack : How to Come Together, Unleash Our Power, and Change the Game is short (less than 100 pages) but is much more than just her speech . You get a peek into how the speech came together and why she said everything. And because the book is short and is an expanded speech, it moves quickly. I feel that it moves with the same ferocity that Abby use to move down a soccer field. And you might find yourself cheering as she takes you through the story. Abby has always been one of my favorite players. The way she ran amok on the pitch was exactly the way I felt I played sports. Never caring how you looked and giving it your all. Leaving it all on the field. When she retired from socc

Chicago Women Who Owned 2015

When I asked social media which Chicago women kicked ass in 2015, I got a list far too long to do justice. I also realized how many of my lady friends kick ass every day, but it's a constant kicking of the ass, not a lot of headline kicking. Ya know what I mean? So I tried to make this list a mix of Chicagoans who had some headline kicks and some who kick ass every day and deserve a shout out. Let's get started, shall we? Photos from social media or public domain pages Luvvie Ajayi Luvvie did my job and summed up her amazing year herself! I love it when women do that. Yes, let's take a moment to reflect on our accomplishments and dance at our own parties. Luvvie makes us laugh, even when we want to cry. She pushes us to be active, even down to our shoes. You'll never laugh so hard when learning so much than when you are in a meeting with her. From hanging with celebs to her epic travel schedule, Luvvie definitely owned 2015. Charlene Carruthers Carruther