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ECON 211 Week 2 Notes

by: Gabby Greenberg

ECON 211 Week 2 Notes Econ 211

Gabby Greenberg
GPA 3.5

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Early Economic Thought, Neoclassicalism
Gender in the Economy
Arpan Ganguly
Class Notes
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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by Gabby Greenberg on Monday September 5, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Econ 211 at Colorado State University taught by Arpan Ganguly in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 3 views. For similar materials see Gender in the Economy in Economics at Colorado State University.


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Date Created: 09/05/16
EARLY ECONOMIC THOUGHT Gender in Pre-Capitalist Society: Patriarchal Feudalism  "Patriarchal feudalism could be described as a set of implicit exchanges in which the subordinate parties (whether serfs, women or children) received protection and security in return for working long hours in the service of their superiors…"  "These exchanges were enforced by threat of violence as well as weight of political and military power… lords benefitted from the extraction of labor dues from serfs; men benefited from a division of labor that assigned women the least remunerative forms of work; as parents benefited from their children's labor and support."  Unity of Church and State: These feudal roles were reinforced via church doctrine o Reinforced the authority of men over their wives and children o Women were given no right to refuse intercourse or to avert conception (coercive pronatalism) o Any form of contraception was considered a sin  Growth of Labor Markets: Patriarchal religion encouraged high growth rates and sanctions against infanticide: o By the 16th Century, one half or more of households received at least part of their income in the form of wages.  Reducing Feudal and Patriarchal Privilege: Negotiations concerning Rents. o Shift towards market system, the privileges of farmers and land-owners diminished so they were negotiating for ranks and land between family members. Negotiating inheritance - weakened feudal power  Early Wage Employment was Modeled on Family Labor: Emergence of Guilds (around 1563) o This same system explicitly excluded women from the right to work in these areas with the exception of widows who had worked with their husbands before death. Gender in Early Christian Philosophy (Middle Ages)  St. Augustine (4th Century): talked of female susceptibility to lust, equating masculinity with rationality and femininity with sensuality.  Thomas Aquinas (13th Century): talked of commerce not being a sin in and of itself and Just Price.  Both Argued: o Women's "lack of sexual self control was justification for their subordination" o Sexual intercourse only for purposes of conceiving children within marriage o Prostitution as a necessary means for channeling male lust  The Malleus Malificarum (the witch hunters' manual) published in 1486, rationalized the murder of some 160,000 women and 40,000 men over the next 250 years. Early Capitalism  Growth of individualism has adverse effects on wives and mothers because it weakened recognition of work that was not conducted for individual gain.  Emergence of Protestant Work Ethic (Max Weber) o "Capitalism not associated with any weakening of religion, but with a new protestant ethic that promoted savings and investment: Economic success could reflect God's favor." o Weber described young girls as particularly inefficient workers, because they lacked the energetic capitalist spirit. o Religion created a new kind of work ethic during this time. Promote individual gain and economic success.  Commercial Freedom came from more quickly to men than women: o Calvinists: preached hard work, frugality and savings, and were happy to borrow and lend to at virtuous interest rates.  Quakers were the exception: advocated women's right to education  Growth of trade required growth of credit: Weakening of moral sanctions on interest rates fueled growth of capital markets o Charging interest rates on non Christian clients was allowed by Catholicism o Usury was redefined as charging excessively high interest rates o In agriculture, differences in men and women's employment was explained by differences in physical strength.  However, religious doctrine continued to emphasize women's susceptibility to sin o For example, when Oliver Cromwell gained control of the English state in the 1640s, adultery become a capital crime Early Capitalist Philosophy  Thomas Hobbes and The "Social Contract" o "Self interest men forge a social contract for their mutual benefit." o People under the state agree to be ruled by the state under the implicit assumption that the state will provide for the people including setting up protections and regulation which ensure an "improved survivability" o Women were left out of these negotiations  Mercantilists (17th Century): most enlightenment age philosopher believed commerce would be civilizing force o Population growth was seen as a means to increase a countries wealth o Monogamy for women and the use of prostitution for men was seen to secure high fertility  Bernard De Mandeville (early 18th Century): argued that "greed was good" o Saw reproduction as a purely natural process like a "senseless engine" Classical Economic Theory and Gender Implications  Adam Smith (1723-1790) o In Theory of Moral Sentiments, Smith argues that moral sentiments (of sympathy) came naturally to men: wealth of nations can be strengthened by it. o Offers a solution between virtue and self-interest by assigning virtue to the family and self- interest to the market  Any service like mother's caring for children, or work of maids and cooks, was considered "non-productive" o Smith's work continues the well established tradition of devaluing reproductive care (the economic double standard) and relegating women to the realm of "virtuous" behavior (the sexual double standard)  Thomas Robert Malthus (1766-1834) Worried about food and population growth o Proposed that as population grows (at an exponential rate), food supplies fall; as food supplies fall population growth slows; as population growth slows food supplies rise again and thus population grows again. o So, poor would always be in poverty and suffer from lack of food o Argued that the poor could never control their desire to breed o Argued that any contraception was useless and treated it as a sin  David Ricardo (1772-1823): developed a theory of production where labor (or labor time) was the fundamental input and source of value o Like Smith, reproductive work (like raising kids, having children, housework, etc.) not considered important  Early Utopian Socialists (Owen, Fourier, etc): argued that love and filial relations were more important than market gain o Argued that equal wages for women and against the requirement that women accept their husbands advances. They also often argued for equal responsibility in caring for children.  Early Socialist Feminists: argued that women were alturistic and argued that society should follow that model and not the model of self-interest/rationality/competition  John Stuart Mill (1806-1873): argued that the traditional partiarchal family was inconsistent with modern factory production o Tyranny within the family (letting fathers control wages) would lead to tyranny in society o Economic independence of women would lead to fertility decline o Position of women would only improve if the positions of the working class were made better o Argued against the division of labor that put men in the factory and relegated women to home work o Called for equal bargaining power of women within marriage and for women's right to vote  This idea would not receive much more attention in economics until the 1980s! o Offered a theory of male domination and patriarchy that drew heavily from contemporary feminist socialists. NEOCLASSICAL  Central Idea o Markets  Where goods and services are exchanged  Producers supply goods and services to the market and sell them to consumers who demand goods and services and buy them from the producers  Circulation of goods and services (commodities) in the market --> consumption o Competition  Necessary conditions for a competitive market  Many buyers and sellers  Homogeneous/identical products  Perfect/full information  Without these conditions satisfied one or a few individual producers or consumers could dominate the market, meaning it would not be competitive.  Monopsony - single buyer o Neoclassical economist believe that perfectly competitive markets are good because they accurately reflect the value society places any particular good or service. o They incentivize producers to supply goods which consumers value highly and consumers to demand goods that producers can supply at low cost.  How People Act o Rationality  Each individual has a set of tastes, or likes and dislikes, called exogenous preferences**  Individuals' preferences assume they know what they want  NC economists assume these preferences are determined by forces OUTSIDE the economy (such as biology and/or culture), meaning they are exogenous  A rational individual consumer will use all available information to best satisfy these exogenous preferences: this process is called utility maximization  A producer will use all available information for the purpose of profit maximization  Consumer is maximizing utility standard to budge constraint  Producer is maximizing quantity subject to cost of production o Scarcity  Society has finite quantities of goods, services, and time  The more we produce or consume of any of these things, the less we are able to have any of the others. o Opportunity Cost  Opportunity cost is the value of what we have to give up when we choose one scarce item over another o If people live in a society with scarce resources, are rational, and take into account opportunity costs when making decisions, then we should be able to predict their behavior pretty well. o Of course, people often behave irrationally. The subfield of Behavioral Economics investigates why, in order to better understand economic behavior.  Supply and Demand o Demand  At any given price of a good or service, how much of that good or service will people buy?  The Law of Demands: As the price of a good rises, desired purchases decline  Determinants of demand: 1) consumer preferences, 2) consumer incomes, 3) number of consumers, and 4) availability of substitutes o Supply  At any given price of a good or service, how much of that good or service will people sell?  The Law of Supply: As the price of a good rises, desired sales also rise  Determinants of supply: 1) technology, 2) cost of inputs, 3) number of producers, and 4) alternative market opportunities  Equilibrium o Equilibrium is a situation in which there is no tendency to change. o At equilibrium, there is no surplus or shortage of gods, meaning all goods produced are sold o A shift in either supply or demand will temporarily move the market out of equilibrium, but it will eventually achieve a new equilibrium. o This model helps economists predict changes in the price and quantity of goods and services when the determinants of supply and/or demand change  Equity o Well-functioning, perfectly competitive markets are economically efficient: all transactions are mutually beneficial and no one can be made better off without making someone else worse off. o However, they are usually not equitable: they do not provide equal opportunities and/or equal outcomes for everyone. o Many economists argue that there is a trade-off between efficiency and equity because if everyone were equal, they would have no incentive to work hard to try to get ahead.  Role of Government o Many NC economists promote a laissez-faire ("leave it alone") government policy towards markets  If the government imposes a tax or quota on the market, it'll only make the market LESS efficient o Some NC economists support government intervention in markets under certain circumstances  Enforcement of property rights  Promotion of equity  Imperfect competition/imperfect information  Externalities  Public goods


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