Amy L. Wax


Economist Shirley Burggraf's book The Feminine Economy and Economic Man claims that a crisis confronts Western Civilization: we are investing too little in the next generation. A fundamental premise of Burggraf s analysis is that an ample supply of resources for children is central and indispensable to the maintenance of a good society. Although Burggraf gives some attention to public or collective investments in children (most notably public education), her principal concern is the private resources that parents devote to their own children. She attaches special importance to parents' personal attention and suggests that there looms a shortage of the kind of direct, hands-on care that parents, and especially mothers, have customarily supplied within the family and outside the market economy. An undersupply of parental nurture threatens to undermine children's chances of growing up to become worthy and productive adults, with negative consequences for those children and for society as a whole.

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