Nancy Folbre, The Rise and Decline of Patriarchal Systems & Catherine Rothenberg & Lynne Segal, The Care Manifesto

The Crisis in Care and How to Solve It

We talk with feminist economist and MacArthur Fellow Nancy Folbre about her new book, The Rise and Decline of Patriarchal Systems. She writes about the political economy of care provision, including at her blog Care Talk.

Then, Catherine Rothenberg and Lynne Segal talk about The Care Manifesto: The Politics of Interdependence. It’s about the global crisis of care and how to solve it.

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Nancy Folbre
The COVID pandemic has revealed our crisis of care in sharp relief.

Women’s employment has been particularly hard hit: with their children stuck at home, women have left their jobs in droves to take up the unpaid work of caring for their kids, while low-paid caregivers have either lost their jobs or been put at risk of disease with few protections.

But the problems in the caring economy are centuries old. Economist Nancy Folbre has been writing about the political economy of care for many years, locating the source of its problems in capitalism.

But it’s not as simple as that, Folbre says. In her new book The Rise and Decline of Patriarchal Systems, Folbre examines the contradictory effects of capitalist development, the intersectional complexity of hierarchical systems and what that means for creating political coalitions to address inequality.

Nancy Folbre is the Director of the Program on Gender and Care Work at the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts.

Catherine Rothenberg & Lynne Segal

We’re talking about the crisis of care in the world today and how to address it. The crisis extends from within our families to our communities, nations and indeed the Earth as a whole.

A collective of five women began meeting several years ago to create a vision for a truly caring world. That “care collective” has come out with a slim but powerful new book, The Care Manifesto: The Politics of Interdependence.

Its authors reimagine the role of care in our everyday lives, making it the organizing principle in every dimension and at every scale of existence. They say we are all dependent on each other. Only by nurturing these interdependencies can we cultivate a world in which each and every one of us can not only live but thrive.

We spoke with Catherine Rothenberg and Lynne Segal. The other authors are Andreas Chatzidakis, Jamie Hakim and Jo Littler.


About Francesca Rheannon

Francesca Rheannon is an award-winning independent radio producer. In addition to hosting Writer's Voice, she's a freelance reporter for National Public Radio and its affiliates. Recipient of the prestigious Nancy Dickerson Whitehead Award for reporting on substance abuse issues for her news series, VOICES OF HIV, produced for 88.5 WFCR public radio in western Massachusetts. She is also finishing a book on Provence (PROVINCE OF THE HEART) and working on a memoir of her father, THE ARGONAUTS.