Sunday, February 26, 2006

Kids Are Commodities

So says Steve Janke over at Angry in the Great White North. No kidding, pardon the pun. He says raising rug rats is the way we pay for our pensions and future caretaking. By demanding that we return to the bad old days before the Welfare State. Steve says Children have no value

What he means is that they are no longer commodities as producers, they remain commodities as consumers of course. So they cost him lots of money, and he wails about having to spend more on them through his taxes. That is he is opposed to day care, cause well the little woman should work at home only and raise the kids. For free of course, no pension, no wages for housework, its a payless career that should bring its own satisfaction. Why child raising is a joy. Which is why in the sixties before the discovery of post pardum depression, psychiatrists made valium the solution for the bored, stressed out housewives of North America.

Love these conservatives their solution is always Forward To The Past or Backwards Into The Future. No really he says that socialized pensions are horrible, poor deluded youngster born post depression in the wonder days of Trudeaumania and Keynes. He can live in his conservative fantasyland because we have social programs. Programs his parents and grandparents demanded, fought and voted for.

Unlike his parents and grandparents who lived through the dirty thirties when Janke's conservatism ruled, no pensions, no old age security, no Unemployment Insurance err pardon me I mean, Employment Insurance (that wonderful Orwellian turn of phrase), no Medicare and damn it No Damn Welfare. Relief was a dollar a week and you had to be married, if not, off to the concentration camps you go.

Better yet he blames them tax and spend Liberals for all this nasty stuff. And then he goes one step better and claims that taxes are the reason for declining birth rates. Ahem the lengths these guys go to blame taxes for everything is well, just exasperating.

But people had even larger families before. Why? Because as much as children cost money when they are young, they have monetary value when they are older. That value is realized when you retire and the children take on the responsibility of taking care of you.

In the old days, people didn't have pensions and RRSPs. They had children.

But someone came up with the idea of socialized pensions. Everyone pays higher taxes, and that money goes into a pool, managed by the government, invested by bureaucrats (usually in government bonds, surprise), and eventually doled back out to you when you retire. In fact, all they did was take over the intra-generational redistribution of wealth that was taking place when children took care of their parents.

But now you've got higher taxes. You have to pay for that. What expense can you cut back on? What is there that you can you do less with, now that your discretionary income has been curtailed?

Of course, kids. I mean, they aren't actually worth anything now, right? And so you see a crash in the birthrate. Of course, what did you think would happen?

Hello stupid, one of the greatest functions of capitalism has been to destroy the bourgeois family along with the peasant family. It is not taxation or the state demanding these developments its capitalism. Capitalism reduces the need for large families in the developed world, literacy, education, a flexible workforce all that 'stuff' that's good for industry is what causes increased security and economic development. Having an advanced capitalist economy results in lower childbirth rates as women become liberated from child rearing in order to go into the work force.

Modern capitalism has allowed the birth of the independent woman who is no longer economically dependent on her husband.

Camille Paglia

Having lots of children wasn't and never has been a glorious prospect. The reality is that having lots of children for the peasant or farming family and later the artisans family was to have workers. Survival rates of children in feudalism as in modern Third World countries was low due to disease. Which is why in earlier societies before the advent of industrialization and capitalism and in modern developing countries the motto was and is
it takes a village to raise a child, opps sorry not in Steves mythical world. In his world the family is the bourgeois family of the 19th century. Sometimes called the nuclear family, mom, dad, two kids and a dog.

Unless you are Catholic which is a religion of go forth and multiply and is peasant based from its power in the feudal period to its dying power today in the peasant based economies of the Developing World.

This 'modern' model of the nuclear family evolved under capitalism, as the bourgeoisie values of housework and homework and the management of the home, became a science for the upperclass women and their middle class followers. In the 19th Century Domestication, the ideal of the house wife as manger evolved through the writing of books on home management and etiquette. All this home management was not done by the middle class or upper class woman, but her maids and nannies, predominately Irish working girls. Who then went home to raise their own families after spending their days in indentured servitude to their bourgeois owners. That is the model of the nuclear family.

The bourgeoisie, historically, has played a most revolutionary part.

The bourgeoisie, wherever it has got the upper hand, has put an end to all feudal, patriarchal, idyllic relations. It has pitilessly torn asunder the motley feudal ties that bound man to his "natural superiors", and has left no other nexus between people than naked self-interest, than callous "cash payment". It has drowned out the most heavenly ecstasies of religious fervor, of chivalrous enthusiasm, of Philistine sentimentality, in the icy water of egotistical calculation. It has resolved personal worth into exchange value, and in place of the numberless indefeasible chartered freedoms, has set up that single, unconscionable freedom -- Free Trade. In one word, for exploitation, veiled by religious and political illusions, it has substituted naked, shameless, direct, brutal exploitation.

The bourgeoisie has stripped of its halo every occupation hitherto honored and looked up to with reverent awe. It has converted the physician, the lawyer, the priest, the poet, the man of science, into its paid wage laborers.

The bourgeoisie has torn away from the family its sentimental veil, and has reduced the family relation into a mere money relation.

The Communist Manifesto. Bourgeois and Proletarians

The reality is that daycare is the modern form of the nanny culture. Irish maids and servants were not unknown amongst the wealthier craftsman in Canada at the turn of last century. There is no inherent value in one parent staying home with the children after infancy. In fact amongst the bourgeois of the 19th century nursemaids were also employed, so that the upperclasses didn't have to suffer the physicality of touching their own children.

Of course that is not what day care or child care offers today. It is about early childhood education. The right wing now goes aghast and agog about this, in much the same way their ancestors were opposed to public education. Well some of their ancestors, others of these dinosaurs , the nativists approved of public education, especially in the United States, where it was seen as Americanizing papists and immigrants.

So think what these folks like Janke are saying, they don't want public day care, so they don't want public education nor public pensions. What the heck do they want? Some strange never existing ideal of a so called free market, one they have read about in books but has never existed.

But at least Janke is honest, he believes in child labour, from cradle to the grave, he says you have kids so they can work for you. Yep if you lived on the farm in 1930 that would be true. Today well he like the rest of the right wing whiners want to wish themselves back to those glory days. But capitalism won't let them go back.

Capitalism needs social services, pensions, benefits, day care, healthcare, etc. despite the Conservative contention that the mythical market should provide these services, it is the Capitalist State that is expected to relieve that burdern off business. These benefits should not be paid for out of its surplus value/profit but paid for by its State through taxes on workers.

After all capitalists never call for the end of individual income taxes, only corporate taxes. That way they can retrieve more of their profits back from what they grudgingly pay us every two weeks.

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1 comment:

Larry Gambone said...

These right-wingers have to be the biggest hypocrits on the planet. They whine endlessly about the money that goes to pensions, medicare or any other of the very few things that make the poor wretched wage slaves life a bit easier. But do they ever criticize the trillions pumped into the corporations by these same states? Do they ever talk about the vast privileges granted to our Neo-feudalist lords? Noooo! Capitalism is built with the bricks of the state, which is why I call it "the state socialism of the rich"