Review Of "The Invisible Heart: Economics And Family Values" By N. Folbre

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This highly original work focuses on the conflicts individuals and families face in meeting simultaneous obligations to be productive in the formal labor market and in the caring work that occurs at home and in the community. This simple statement does not do justice to this book's complexity and richness. It is a personal and intellectual memoir. It is a critique of the contemporary economic system and an analysis of alternative systems. It is an exploration of how economics values, or undervalues, the role of caring work in society. Folbre (a MacArthur fellow and economics professor, Univ. of Massachusetts at Amherst) is too sophisticated, however, simply to reject all the insights that economics has to offer. The reader is constantly surprised as she moves, nearly seamlessly, from discussing her father's work with a wealthy, complicated Texas family or her experience as a Texan transplanted to New York City, to discussing poverty and public policy, school finance, and the effects of globalization, among other issues. This book would be an effective complement to standard analyses of social policy as well as a highly engaging introduction for upper-division undergraduates seeking a clear articulation of the limits of mainstream economic analysis when it moves into the realm of nonmarket activity. Academic and research collections.


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