Inderscience Publishers

Patriarchy and accumulation on a world scale revisited. (Keynote lecture at the Green Economics Institute, Reading, 29 October 2005)

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'Patriarchy and accumulation revisited' asks why a book, which first appeared in 1986, still finds so much interest today. The answer is that the analysis of that book is still valid, namely that the unpaid work of women in the household, the work of subsistence producers, working in the informal sector and the work of nature constitute the hidden underground of the capitalist world economy and its accumulation model. In this connection, I use the metaphor of an iceberg economy, where the largest part is hidden under the water. I called this devaluation of work then a process of housewifisation. Today, one speaks of precarisation of work. This work, however, is no longer restricted to women but includes men as well. It is the optimal work for capitalism. And most people in the world do this type of work. The problem is that our concept of labour which still refers only to wage labour, does not at all reflect this reality.

Keywords: patriarchal exploitation, capitalist exploitation, capital accumulation, capitalism, informal economy, globalisation, green economics, work devaluation, women, subsistence producers, labour, patriarchy

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