Saturday, May 10, 2008

Speaking of the work mothers do

So the Kid and I have had a lot of time to talk since he was deprived of internet and television for a few days. It turns out he really does love his dear old mom, but not if there is manga to be read.

He's studying American history this year and they are learning all about the constitution and the civil war, etc. He said "the Civil war wasn't really fought over slavery, it was over state's rights".

And then I gave him the condensed for a 13 year old version of this post

You may have some romantic notion that the Civil War was fought for philosophical reasons over the enslavement of fellow humans. The truth is actually based in the functions of a capitalist society. As the north industrialized and started selling more finished goods that were more capital intensive than agricultural raw goods from the south, slavery became an impediment to the wage system.

Keeping a slave is a fixed cost. The only fluctuation is in the original buying price, after that there is no competition to keep costs down. You could keep your slaves near starvation but when they dropped dead you would have to buy another slave. Replacement was not cheap. So the price of raw goods stays relatively high because labor costs can't be dropped. Paid workers, on the other hand, had no initial cost and since you were not responsible for their well being you could pay starvation wages without a replacement cost. As long as there was a surplus of labor, you could keep dropping the wages lower and lower making the cost of producing your goods cheaper and cheaper. Capitalism at it's finest (oh sense the irony there or you people don't know me well).

And so the very next day (oh providence!) the kid had a group exercise on the Civil war, slavery and economics.

And my darling child just went and rocked the brains of a group of 7th graders.

When I asked him if he understood what I explained to him - he did the typical teenage eyeroll "Of course, Moooooooom." And he thinks the other kids understood it too.

So RQ is not only corrupting her own child with radical ideas, but the precious children of the creative class elites as well. Their parents may have drank the koolaid, but not all hope is lost.

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