Patten Lecture: Nancy Folbre: "Monsters of the Economic: Inequality, Fear, and Loathing in America"
"Monsters of the Economic: Inequality, Fear, and Loathing in America"
Nancy Folbre is Professor Emerita of economics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the new Director of the Political Economy Research Institute’s Program on Gender and Care Work. A distinguished social scientist, Professor Folbre’s research explores the intersections of political economy and feminist theory, with a focus on caring work and other forms of non-market work. Her work on female labor force issues and the economics of family care has advanced the discipline of economics and broadened its scope to investigate a topic that has implications for all members of society. Indeed, her scholarship has prompted a fundamental reevaluation of the way economists, sociologists, and other social scientists think about the meaning of labor and about the linkage between family and the economy.
In “Monsters of the Economic: Inequality, Fear, and Loathing in America”, Folbre examines the trend toward extreme income inequality within the U.S. and the global economy as a whole is clear. But the numbers don’t reveal the emotional consequences of this information. The threat of downward mobility and economic insecurity generates fear and loathing, increases vulnerability to political manipulation, and impedes our ability to work together to solve important economic problems—including, paradoxically, the problem of extreme inequality itself. This presentation flushes out some of the monsters lurking behind economic policy debates, many of which have been projected onto a vivid cultural screen portraying conflicts between vampire and zombie, robot and werewolf, superhuman and subhuman. Which should we ordinary mortals fear the most?
The William T. Patten Foundation
The William T. Patten Foundation provides funds to bring distinguished scholars or practitioners in the sciences, the humanities and the arts to the Bloomington campus for a week. The foundation has brought over 150 scholars of extraordinary national and international distinction since 1937, making it the oldest lecture series at Indiana University. Lecturers are chosen by a campus-wide faculty committee.
William T. Patten graduated in 1893 with a Bachelor of Arts in history from IU. He then moved to Indianapolis and led a successful career in real estate and politics. He created an endowment for the university in 1931, with the purpose of bringing renowned leaders to the Bloomington campus.