babble home - news for the rest of us
today's active topics

Post New Topic  Post A Reply
FAQ | Forum Home
  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» babble   » walking the talk   » labour and consumption   » Importing carers is emotional imperialism

Email this thread to someone!    
Author Topic: Importing carers is emotional imperialism
Babbler # 2534

posted 24 October 2005 10:39 AM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Madeleine Bunting's Guardian article Importing carers = emotional imperialism could have gone under "body and soul", "feminism" or "anti-racism" as well, but I decided to put it here as it is about making caring relationships a commodity and the impact this form of globalisation is having on carers' families in poor countries.

The piles of cheap clothing on our high streets come with a high price tag. We know about the low pay and poor working conditions of those producing these garments, as described in the work of writers such as Naomi Klein. What we know much less about is the impact of those working conditions on the workers' families. The next time you pick up an elaborately stitched jacket or pair of shoes, ask yourself where the seamstress's children were when she was hunched over her sewing machine.

A book to be published next month is a stab at tracking the impact of rapid economic globalisation on family life. Jody Heymann's Forgotten Families is based on research on hundreds of families in countries across the world, from Botswana to Vietnam and Mexico, and it quickly punctures some pervasive myths about extended families. Increasing numbers of women are taking up paid employment across the developing world and, at the same time, the migration from rural areas to cities is accelerating. The combination of these two is rupturing centuries-old traditions of child rearing and care - in particular, the habit of a mother keeping children with her while she worked in the fields or in the home, and the support offered by the extended family to help care for children.

From: Se non ora, quando? | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
editor emeritus
Babbler # 2513

posted 24 October 2005 11:51 AM      Profile for writer     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The Kalayaan Centre in Vancouver was established to work "towards social justice for overseas Filipinos." It's an excellent resource for learning more about Canada's immigration policy and its affects on domestic workers, nurses, aids, etc. and their families back home. It is also an inspiring example of a community taking action against injustice.
From: tentative | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
Babbler # 478

posted 24 October 2005 12:31 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
From lagatta's Guardian link:

Increasingly, in the affluent west and the developing world, the inflexible demands of long hours of paid employment are prioritised over domestic responsibilities - leaving a care gap.

The solution in the west is to outsource care - pay someone else to do it - and that is often provided by migrant female labour from the developing world. So the care gap of the west is resolved at the cost of exacerbating the care gap of the developing world. It's bad enough when a woman has to leave her children alone to go to work in a factory for 12 hours a day; it's even worse when she has to get on a plane and leave her children behind for years at a time, using some of her pay to cover the cost of a maid substitute.

It's a form of asset-stripping - though this time the asset is not oil or diamonds but care. Alongside economic inequality emerges the inequality of care.

It's important to grasp all the connections, how interconnected and yet still unbalanced all our lives are.

In Canada, the worst scandal I know of is the special immigration rules under which foreign workers, most often women, are admitted as "nannies."

I don't think that immigrants who work for the homecare agencies or long-term care (ie, nursing) homes are being quite so obviously treated as indentured labour, although it is clear that something like a labour ghetto has developed for those workers and that they are further vulnerable because we so obviously don't want to think hard about what real care would be, how much it would cost, how important that work should be considered to be.

From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
v michel
Babbler # 7879

posted 24 October 2005 01:37 PM      Profile for v michel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
This article leaves me with mixed feelings. I bristle at this:

It's a form of asset-stripping - though this time the asset is not oil or diamonds but care. Alongside economic inequality emerges the inequality of care. It's what the American academic Arlie Russell Hochschild describes as the "care drain", as young women move to richer countries to care for the young, sick and elderly. The scale of this care drain is projected to grow dramatically; by 2020 the US alone will be able to absorb the entire world's supply of nurses, a demand in part generated by an increasingly elderly population.

Across the globe, care provided by young women is undervalued. Reading between the lines, this article suggests that there is something unseemly in women leaving their country to work elsewhere, and that the women owe it to their own countries to stay and provide that (undervalued) care at home.

I get the problems associated with importing care-givers. However, I would like to see women able to leverage their care-giving skills for economic benefit. I would be excited if caring for the young and elderly, which has been such a marginalized profession, could actually be a good cash earner for young women in other countries who immigrate here.

I understand the abuses present in our immigration systems. But I also don't think it's right to say that these women owe it to their nation to stay home and continue providing underpaid, undervalued care to their own communities.

Also this part is presented in contrast to the "affluent West" but it sounds about normal for the US to me, at least anecdotally:

Places at workplace nurseries are often limited or nonexistent, and employment rights, such as decent maternity leave or leave for a family emergency, are restricted. Heymann found that of the families they interviewed, 36% admitted they had had to leave young children at home alone, 39% had left a sick child at home alone and 27% had left a child in the care of another child.

Most working parents I know have had to leave a young child home or in care of a child who wasn't really old enough at least once. If it's a choice between keeping the job and health insurance or taking that risk, well... I'm not advocating that choice, but I get irritated when things like this are presented as "third world conditions" when they are happening in our own backyards as well.

Nonethless, the imperialism of care is a very interesting idea.

From: a protected valley in the middle of nothing | Registered: Jan 2005  |  IP: Logged

All times are Pacific Time  

Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic    Move Topic    Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
Hop To:

Contact Us | | Policy Statement

Copyright 2001-2008