“All in the Family Debt,” an essay adapted from Melinda Cooper’s Family Values is picked as a Top Ten Read on Inequality by the Boston Review. Click here to learn more about the book. Click here to view the magazine’s list of texts on inequality. Click here to read the full essay. An excerpt appears below.
“Indeed, many of the policy reforms after the Reagan revolution can be understood as an attempt to reinvent the imperative of familial responsibility in the new idiom of household debt. As policymakers imposed cuts to health, education, and welfare budgets, they simultaneously identified the family as a wholesale alternative to the twentieth-century social state. And as the responsibility for deficit spending shifted from the state to the household, the private debt obligations of family were defined as foundational to socioeconomic order. The family, not the state, would bear primary responsibility for investing in the education, health and welfare of children.”