Friday, October 19, 2007

Horwitz on Capitalism and the Family

Allow me to recommend "Capitalism and the Family," an essay recently written by Steven Horwitz, Professor of Economics at St. Lawrence University, and published in The Freeman. Steve's thesis, in a nutshell: "Over history measured in centuries, the evolution of the family can be summarized as a movement of work from the household to the market, with the results being the liberation of human beings from unnecessary labor and a shift in the central functions of the family."

In contending that "the market is a key reason why the family has changed the way it has in recent years and that such changes are good," Steve breaks from both the right and the left. Those on the right, while paying lip service to the market, resist the liberating effect it has had on family life. Those on the left, in contrast, celebrate our liberation from household tyranny but fail to give due credit to market forces.

Steve plans, during his present sabbatical, to complete a book expanding on this unique and fruitful approach to family life. Keep your eyes peeled for it. Steve's work has always impressed me as well informed, well reasoned, and well written. About family life, moreover—something we've spent long and pleasant hours discussing—you can count on Steve for sage and fundamentally decent judgment.

No comments: