On Ms. Laurie Penny\’s inability to use logic

In her first counterblast Laurie says:

In recent years, both men and women have found that their working hours have increased

In the next paragraph she says:

Men do work longer hours in many industries – but only if you subscribe to the view that paid work is the only work that counts. Women\’s unpaid caring, childrearing and domestic labour contributes tens of billions of pounds to this economy, and 35 years after the Equal Pay Act, women\’s share of the domestic load remains close to double that of men.

So, quite clearly, Laurie thinks that we should be measuring both paid and unpaid, market and household production, hours, as being work.

Good, I both agree and approve of this.

But if we do do this, as we should, we find however that male and female working hours have been decreasing for the past century or more. For while female market working hours have been rising, male market working hours have been falling. And household production hours for both sexes have been falling: for women by more than market working hours have increased.

Thus by using the definition of working hours that Laurie urges us to use we cannot then say that working hours have increased, for that would be illogical.

Still as I never tire of pointing out, Laurie is the Germaine Greer of our days so it\’s only another 40 years before she too will have a gardening column.

11 comments on “On Ms. Laurie Penny\’s inability to use logic

  1. Another little issue (as some people have pointed out in the comments) is that the “domestic labour” measured in those stats is rather selective. The hours narrow if you include tasks that men tend to do, like DIY and gardening.

    It’s argued that they don’t count as real chores, but then some people love to cook and that’s included…

  2. This is an interesting line:

    “Along with many conservative thinkers, Raab appears to believe in an invisible set of magic scales whereby if life improves for women, it automatically gets worse for men – as if there were a finite amount of social justice in the world.”

    Presumably Laurie is happy with the idea that the rich getting richer doesn’t make the poor poorer.

  3. “Laurie is the Germaine Greer of our days”

    For all her faults, Greer at least had in her younger days some pizzaz about her, which this sad-sack doesn’t.

  4. ” As we all know, women do housework in return for great sex.”

    Because it’s a dreadful chore for us. Can we add this to our work hours. [Not that it will make much difference to the figures. ahem. Say no more...]

  5. If it is needed to pit men against women .
    Why not decry the hours of work children are forced to do at school etc – all unpaid

  6. Richard – “As we all know, women do housework in return for great sex.”

    Not if they are married to me they don’t. And looking around my contemporaries I would have to say it is more that they do a minimal amount of housework for begrudging, late, often put off and generally resented bad sex.

  7. Why not decry the hours of work children are forced to do at school etc – all unpaid”

    And unpaid work for the state in make-work schemes like mandatory recycling.

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