Thursday, August 28, 2014

Willa Cather's bishop on miracles, vision, and love

Here is a stunning passage from Willa Cather's novel, Death Comes for the Archbishop:
"Where there is great love there are always miracles," [the bishop] said at length. "One might almost say that an apparition is human vision corrected by divine love. I do not see you as you really are, Joseph; I see you through my affection for you. The Miracles of the Church seem to me to rest not so much upon faces or voices of healing power coming suddenly from far off, but upon our perceptions being made finer, so that for a moment our eyes can see and our ears can hear what is there about us always."
I was in dire need of a novel this summer and picked up this book at a great independent bookstore in downtown Chicago when my family was vacationing there last month. The book turned out to be worth its weight in gold. I had previously read Cather's My Antonia in my undergrad, and my prof for that class was a Cather scholar; so I knew I was in for goodness going into it.

And that passage above speaks to me on a number of levels...

Friday, August 8, 2014

Sexist Economics 101

From Toledo, IA
Emerging economics scholar, Kate Bahn, points out...
Early (US) census takers at the turn of the twentieth century were instructed not to consider women as employed if they were not earning at least a majority of the family’s income. Men were not subject to the same strict definition of employment. Because a lot of the work women did to earn money was done within their homes, it was not considered actual work unless it brought in money above a certain threshold.
(Source: How Gender Changes Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century, The Nation)

The word "economy" comes from the Greek word oikos, which can be translated as "household." In the ancient world, the household was more than the nuclear family, it was the site of economic production.

This is blatant evidence that modern conceptions of economics/economy are incredibly limited and therefore limiting in any number of ways. In this case, women's work in the home wasn't counted as "real" or "worth it."

I've argued somewhat recently that Wendell Berry's work on economy is far more fruitful and equitable...

(H/T Ric Hudgens - @rdhudgens)