Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Money Wisdom #119

"The system of paid and unpaid labor has been until recently gendered. The separation of the two was made clearer if men worked for money outside and women were responsible for the home. Returning form a hard day at the factory or office, the patriarch beat the kids, ate a meal, put his feet up and enjoyed free sex before sleep completed the process of restoring him for the next day's work. This was the moral universe of early industrial society. It rested on a strong opposition between the money sphere of buying and selling and the domestic sphere of give-and-take. This is why money has a sharp cultural resonance for us that it lacks in societies that have not instituted such a strong polarity between (outside) work and home. For example, I was once talking to a Ghanaian student about exchanges between lovers, and he said that it was quite common for a boy who had slept with a girl after a party to leave some money as a gift and token of esteem. Once he had done this with a visiting American student and the resulting explosion was gigantic. "Do you imagine that I am a prostitute?", etc. Prostitution is the contradictory core of the modern economic system and its moral defenses.

Keith Hart Money in an Unequal World (2000) p.210

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