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Women's Wages in Relation to Economic Welfare

The Economic Journal, Read before Section F of the British Association, 1923

By Ysidro Francis Edgeworth

Critique by Punkerslut

From RadicalGraphics.org
Image: From "Feminist" Gallery from RadicalGraphics.org

Start Date: January 12, 2004
Finish Date: January 13, 2004


     When in desire of knowing the sheer inhuman treatment that was given to the female gender, of the submission they were forced into, I hoped that this piece would be of aid in determining the injustice that the workplace granted them. Unfortunately, this piece, like many economic treatises, lacks in understandable language. Unlike economic treatises, though, this lacks not so much because of its dependence on terminology; rather, it lacks because the author thought that extreme obscurity and poetry are identical -- that they both are beautiful and desirable of reading, even when trying to deliver an opinion on economics. "A distinctive feature of welfare which especially concerns us here is the postulate that the satisfactions felt by different persons admit of comparison." This, for example, is about as direct and meaningful as a four year old's first written sentence, except perhaps the latter will be more appreciated by those reading. Not only this, but the work was written in 1923, making it not old at all. The Gettysburg Address is sixty years older than this, but few people will have any difficulty comprehending it. When writing a piece, and trying to demonstrate an opinion, it is the writer's obligation (always) to be direct and pointful in what they write. Edgeworth is a class A example of how not to write. So much to the point, that I am unable to determine what his opinion on the matter he was writing about! However, I did find something that was worth commenting on...

Women's Wages

"It will be remembered that the presumption in favour of equal pay to men and women encountered the objection that the bulk of men are subject to a charge from which the bulk of women are exempt, the support of families."

     When reading this statement, it really expresses the principle interests of the Capitalist class: profit. What are the workers paid? A subsistence wage: only enough for them and the upcoming generation of workers to subsist upon. Whatever arguments that the Capitalist apologist can come up with, it violates human experience. One may argue that the spirit of competition will force the Capitalists to pay unskilled workers higher if they're more efficient, but this is not the case. The actual case usually is that the worker who works for less is hired. The actual competition that exists works to bring poverty to the masses and wealth to the few. In the case of female workers, they are often times capable of producing just as much as many, or nearly as much, depending on the job. And though they produce as much wealth as any man, they are paid less. As Edgeworth wrote, "...the hasty substitution of low-paid female operatives for well-paid men..." In many cases, though, women are responsible for the support of families. This number has not been changing throughout the years. There have been a great deal of women who were widowed through wars, whose work it was to support their children. Especially in 1924, when this was written, on the conclusion of the first world war. But, it is quite true, that those unmarried and without families, who need less to subsist, whether male or female, are generally paid less, because thus is the nature of the subsistence wage concept.

     It is for this reason, that Communism becomes the central fight of every reform and revolutionary group. Capitalists will destroy the will power of the citizens, by convincing them that they must give in to the system if they want to eat -- and it turns them from thinkers into consumers. If, at the end of a workday, the worker retains any energy, he must then be aware of the great injustice that has been done to him. The primary deficiency with the Capitalist system is that it places wealth into the hands of those who do no labor. The secondary faults are numerous, as we can see with the Sexist discrimination it poses, by paying women workers less. So, Capitalist must be destroyed, if to preserve Feminism alone. But, with foreign exploitation of lands conquered, Capitalism must also be destroyed to preserve peace and end war. The system of Free Enterprise has brought in government corruption, the slavery of media, exploitation of slaves and animals, destruction of the earth, among any other grave injustice committed against the natural inhabitants of the earth. So, it must be said, that we have to battle Capitalism, as it is the source of our greatest misery, and the fuel of every violation of fairness and equity.


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