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Who Should Pay?

by Phil Bartle, PhD

Training Handout

These are rough lecture notes, not smoothed for general use

Making babies may be fun, cheap and easy, but raising them is costly.

By “raising” them we mean socialization plus providing for their needs.

It is the only way society has for perpetuating (reproducing) itself.

Why does it fall onto the parents to pay all the costs?

The commodification process:

  • Treating a social responsibility as if it were a consumer good.

  • We are more and more commodifying our activities

  • Examples: education, parks, town planning, highways.

In whose interests?

  • Corporations, conservative governments that support. them.

  • The process started with the industrial revolution (by owners of capital)

  • A product of capitalist society.

Trends in commodification:

  • Pre Industrial societies see raising children as a social responsibility

  • These include our own past, gathering, fishing, hunting, and agrarian societies.

  • Commodification came with industrialization (capitalism)

  • The past 50 years saw an intensification of the notion, values, practice.

  • Children are now less seen as investment in production and old age security

More trends in socialization patterns:

  • Smaller families = fewer older siblings to help care & socialize

  • More of both parents working = more reliance on outside agents

  • Television: 50 years, created and expanded; increasing role

  • Increase in day care facilities, acceptability, and use

  • More organized sports and recreational organizations

  • More fear of harm to children, less freedom for them to roam

  • More regimented and controlled childhood = less independent thinking

  • Increased cost by using more outside agencies (fewer children)

  • Decrease in moral training = rising crimes, cheating

If the state is the political representative of society, and society can reproduce or perpetuate itself only through socialization, then the costs of that socialization should be born 100% by the state.  That is logical and fair.  Life and society are not guaranteed to be either logical or fair

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Last update: 2012.06.10

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