Welcome to Care Talk. This blog, managed and primarily written by Nancy Folbre, aims to engage researchers, students, journalists, and others interested in the “care sector”–an important part of our economy devoted to the direct care of others through the family, the community, the market, and the state.
The provision of care entails both paid and unpaid work and is often motivated by genuine concern for the well-being of others. It also requires other resources, including money, organization, and technology.
Care is costly to provide, and both individuals and groups often try to find ways to offload its costs onto others. Analysis of distributional conflict is key to understanding problems of care provision.
As in much of my published research, I am particularly interested in three specific problems 1) failure to adequately measure the important economic contributions made by families and communities 2) the shortcomings of the standard “business model” based on profit maximization and consumer choice as a means of delivering effective care services through the market 3) poor institutional design in the U.S. public sector, which often fails to deliver equitable, efficient, or politically sustainable systems of care provision.
You can read my little mini-essays in sequence or by category. Many of my entries represent installments in a long-run book project entitled Accounting for Care. I plan to include some podcasts and power points and one of these days I may actually make a video or two. For my own entertainment, I’m also indulging my interest in art, graphic design and photography.
My posts and pages fall into eight general categories:
- The meaning of care and/or the “care sector” as a whole.
- Gender inequality and care.
- Measurement and valuation of unpaid care work.
- Wages and working conditions in paid employment.
- Work-family policies
- Child care and education
- Home and community-based care for the sick, disabled or frail.
- Public finance and social insurance
- Care policy in the electoral arena
I don’t have much to say about health policy, because I don’t have much expertise in this area.
By the way, I call this blog Care Talk as homage to Click and Clack, a.k.a. Tom and Ray Magliozzi, whose radio show Car Talk, regularly aired on National Public Radio during much of my adult life. They always made me appreciate the possibility of having a good time while trying to fix things that are broken.