Careful Entanglements: Redeeming the Role of 'Money' in Feminist Economic Futures

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From the perspective of feminist economists, the relationship between money and care in Western democracies is typically a negative one. Care has a ‘contradictory’ relationship to capital for Fraser (2016), it is categorically unable to keep pace with the efficiency drives of monetary growth for Himmelweit (2005), and its association with both paid and unpaid labours makes it ’anomalous’ for Prügl (2020). Money, as the outward face and emblem of capitalist economic value, has borne its fair share of this criticism: money is a fundamental feminist issue, for Adkins, because it demonstrates the ‘convertibility and commensurability’ of value under capitalism (Adkins 2015). However, the matter is far from settled around contexts of care. Proponents of new Social Reproduction Theories have been accused of the very same commodity and money fetishism that Marx critiqued, in their primary focus on wages as the conveyor of economic value (Folbre 2020).

This prompts the research question: How have feminist economic theories influenced the discourse of care on monetary theory in contemporary liberal market economies?

This paper: firstly, reviews the diverse positions of ‘money’ as a concept in feminist economics; secondly situates the topic of care centrally; and finally, identifies points of convergence toward care in wider monetary theory literature. Whilst there is an increasing interest in the so-called ‘caring currencies’ (Fureai-Kippu) popularised by Japanese society (Sahakian 2014), monetary theory continues to inherit a neo-classical view of money as an objective, neutral measure, and thus has not been concerned with Western discourses of caring (state-supported, familial or labour-gendered). Whilst a cursory glance at the history of monetary systems away from money as a 'public resource' (Desan 2014) would initially justify this separation of money and care, this paper begins from the position of an entanglement between the two concepts in contemporary life.

Methodologically, this paper takes a new materialist approach to its central question. As mentioned, the dominant narrative within feminist economics is clearly for a negative impact of money on care in their increasing entanglement. This paper takes such conceptual influencing as mutual. In other words, if the monetary system against which feminist activists marched in the 1970s has fundamentally altered, how has the increasing attention of ‘care’ influenced the way monetary theory views the central medium of valuation under capitalism?
Publikationsdato22 jun. 2021
StatusUdgivet - 22 jun. 2021
Begivenhed29th International Association for Feminist Economics Annual Conference: Sustaining Life: Challenges of Multidimensional Crises - Online
Varighed: 22 jun. 202125 jun. 2021
Konferencens nummer: 29


Konference29th International Association for Feminist Economics Annual Conference

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