Category: uncategorized

Love Among the Synths

I just started watching Humans, a British television series distributed by AMC in the U.S. and Real Humans, the Swedish series on which it is approximately based. Both start out on the same theme, the use of intelligent (and, in some cases, fully conscious and emotionally adept) androids to help provide family care. I am behind the curve for serious TV… Read more →

The Blood Business

  Because many countries don’t allow the purchase of human blood for plasma extraction, U.S. businesses find a ready market: According to The Economist,  plasma accounts for 1.6% of the value of U.S. exports. A recent New York Times article explores what life is like for the “plassers” who routinely sell their plasma on the cheap, often in order to… Read more →

Intersecting, Overlapping Hierarchies

I have been playing around for some time with visual images to convey the concept of intersecting, overlapping hierarchies based on dimensions of group identity such as gender, race/ethnicity, class, and citizenship. For a while I liked fractal pyramids because sometimes inequalities do seem nested inside one another. But I turned against them because a) they seem too regular, too… Read more →

The Carebot Conundrum

Check out a recent  New York Times article on an experiment with Zora the carebot in French nursing homes.  If she were my nurse I would ask her how she got her name, and she would probably explain it was generated by her friend Algorithm. Likewise her design–innocently small and androgynously lovable. You can kiss her! The epicenter of carebots for… Read more →

The World Bank, Getting Careless

The World Development Report 2019 purports to explore the changing nature of work in the global economy. Yet as its striking cover–dominated by Diego Rivera’s images of Men as Producers–indicates, it gives unpaid care work short shrift. Shahra Razavi and Silke Staab detail their disappointment in a fascinating Oxfam post, also noting lack of attention to the paid care sector of… Read more →


The Great Transition Network recently hosted a great discussion of Guy Standing’s arguments for a universal basic income (UBI) as a way of protecting The Precariat–the many workers of the global economy without access to secure employment. As I indicated in my very short contribution, I would be more enthusiastic about UBI if its advocates would get more specific about… Read more →

Bad Air, Costly Care

Traffic-related air pollution has particularly adverse health effects on young children, including greater vulnerability to asthma. In a recent podcast, my UMass colleague Sylvia Brandt explains the psychological and economic burden of family care for children with asthma–a striking example of the nexus between environmental degradation and care costs. One way to estimate costs is ask how much parents would be willing… Read more →

The Tyranny of (Some) Metrics

This new book by Jerry Z. Muller (Princeton University Press, 2018) does a great job explaining what happens when policy makers rely too heavily on simplistic measures of performance.  He  offers compelling examples from diverse domains, ranging from schools to hospitals to police departments, the military, and foreign aid.  His opening riff on the 2002-2008 television series, The Wire, is… Read more →

The ILO on Care Work and Care Workers

The new International Labour Organization report on care work and care workers is a real milestone. It consolidates and compares data of time devoted to care time for all countries (about 80!) for which time-use survey data are available. It  includes discussion of  wages, working conditions and future shortages in paid care employment. It outlines an ambitious policy agenda, insisting… Read more →