Hello my fellow witches! Welcome to Libra season. It’s a new month, and that means a new book for #SheSpendsReads. I’ll be reading Who Cooked Adam Smith’s Dinner? by Katrine Marçal.
I picked up this book on a whim, and it’s been sitting on my shelf for the past few months. I’m pumped to learn about women and economics. What grabbed me about this book was the principle it argues against. Adam Smith was an 18th-century economist in Great Britain who argued that the “economic man” is a selfish, cynical individual who only acts in the pursuit of financial gain. Smith argues that our society consists of individual “economic men” who keep the world turning.
“It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities but of their advantages.” - Smith, The Wealth of Nations
Marçal asks, then, “Who cooked Adam Smith’s dinner?” Was that labor of Adam Smith’s mother any less intensive than that of the baker? Her primary motivation was not self-interest, so what is it? And does her motivation mean her labor is then less valuable?
You can find Who Cooked Adam Smith’s Dinner on Amazon, either a hard copy or kindle, though I would definitely encourage you to support your local bookseller instead. (Because bookstore cats. We can’t lose them.) I’ll be posting updates on She Spends’ Twitter and Instagram accounts, with a final summary of my thoughts on the book at the end of the month.
I took a microeconomics class at university and completely bombed it. So join me, as I delve into the world of economics all over again! Fell off this horse but I’m gettin’ back on.
- Jemma 🦄