Home Feminism Let's Have Paid Childcare To Solve The Servant Problem

Let’s Have Paid Childcare To Solve The Servant Problem



That someone, somewhere, needs to take care of the children is just one of those things about the human condition. We’re marked, as a species, by neoteny and the excessively long childhood that results. OK, so, a solution is needed.

The current insistence is that poor women should be hired, at the expense of all, to take care of the children of rich women. That’s not quite what is said but it is what is meant. The insistence is, that is, that someone should get on with solving the servant problem.

This would be very mice for middle class women, of course it would, but it’s not entirely certain why everyone should be paying for this insistence to their benefit. The latest report claiming that this must be done contains this delightful line:

In addition to reducing the undue burden of care, affordable and quality childcare frees mothers to participate in the labor force and creates jobs for women in the childcare sector.

We don’t really seem to have achieved all that much there, do we? By their own approbation, plan, they’re insisting that women will be taking care of children. It’s just that it’ll be one set of women taking care of the children of another set rather than each taking care of their own. Which doesn’t seem to be, not massively at least, a significant change in the original complaint, that women have to do much of the childcare.

What will happen though is as follows. Childcare isn’t a notably highly paid occupation. The reason for that is obvious, there are billions of people across the world entirely capable of doing it. Something in high supply tends not to achieve a high price. So, it will be poorer women – they’ll be getting low wages, so they will by doing it be poorer – who end up doing the childcare. It will be higher paid women who get to go off an design diversity training courses while their kids are taken care of.

We will, in short, solve the servant problem.

It’s not obvious that this is an advance in society. Although, of course, it has the wholehearted support of all middle class women and thus of most of the men who wake up to them which is why we’re probably going to get it even if we shouldn’t.



  1. Well yes. In Oz we have public education paid for by the taxpayer. Kindergarten paid for by the taxpayer. I think it was the middle class Fabians who talked about the inevitability of gradualness.

  2. Yebbut, teaching is specialisation of skills (stop laughing at the back). There’s 5 billion capable of childcare, the number capable of teaching is in the millions. And childhood education is one of those public toilets vs pissing-in-the-streets things, society gains more from providing it communally on all shoulders than the cost of providing it.


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