“Industrializing” Housework and Child Care

  • Barbara R. Bergmann


The replacement of housework done on an unpaid basis by purchased family care services has increased, due to the entry of more and more married women into paid work. The “industrialization” of childcare and food services, and perhaps of housecleaning services as well, can be thought of as the ultimate episode—and the logical conclusion—of a process that began millennia ago. Before economies based on regularized exchange were well established, the only way to get some product or service was to have some family member produce it. As economies have developed over the centuries, more and more products for family consumption have come to be supplied by barter or purchase and fewer by within-the-family production. Housework and child care are the major do-it-yourself products that remain; if they are absorbed into the exchange economy, only self-chauffeuring, some amateur housepainting, and backyard vegetable gardening will be left.


Child Care Welfare Reform Child Care Center Child Care Provider Family Child Care 
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© Barbara R. Bergmann 2005

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  • Barbara R. Bergmann

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