Bryce Covert: How Do We Make the Economic Case for Care Work?

Oct 19, 2012

On the latest episode of the Roosevelt Institute's Bloggingheads series, Fireside Chats, NND Editor Bryce Covert talks to Nancy Folbre, economist at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and editor of For Love and Money: Care Provision in the United States. In the clip below, they discuss Bryce's main takeaway from the book, which is that there is a value to domestic care work "to everyone, to the economy, to individuals, and there's a cost when we're not valuing this care."

Bryce notes that the high-profile defeat of the Domestic Workers' Bill of Rights in California and the continued obstruction of a bill to provide paid sick days in New York City are both the result of Democrats giving in to pressure from business lobbyists. Given the challenge of taking on these powerful interests, Bryce wonders if there's a way "to make the economic case, to bring business in or at least to be able to combat their claims that, 'Oh, well, it's too much of a cost burden on us to do these things.'" She also points out research that shows that although these worker-friendly regulations are often met with initial resistance from employers, they've proven to be harmless or even beneficial once they're in place. This suggests that "maybe there's this disconnect between what small business owners or regular business owners think and their represented interests like the Chamber of Commerce, which tends to be very conservative even in policies that might actually benefit small businesses."

For more, including a discussion of how coalitions can be built to push for better working conditions and why men share away from traditionally female-oriented care work, check out the full video below:

 

Childcare worker image via Shutterstock.com.

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