… is from page 51 of the late economic historian Stanley Lebergott’s brilliant 1993 book, Pursuing Happiness: American Consumers in the Twentieth Century:
In 1900, cooking, baking, food preserving, and canning were nearly all done at home. Most clothing was made, washed, and repaired at home. Not to mention house cleaning, child care, and medicating the sick. Since families took less than two days of vacation a year, virtually all recreation was likewise produce at home.
DBx: Conservative, economic nationalists such as Oren Cass should read – carefully – all of Lebergott’s work, but especially Lebergott’s splendid and spectacularly insightful 1993 volume, from which the above quotation is extracted. (This volume is less than 200 pages – a fact that, when combined with Lebergott’s brilliance at writing, makes reading this book a pleasure and not a tax, even for non-economists.)
Were they to read Lebergott’s 1993 book, Cass and others who swoon with nostalgia for the good ol’ days when the little ladies stayed at home to perform traditional wifely tasks might have second thoughts about the wisdom of their insistence (as Cass puts the matter) “on recognizing the importance of non-market labor performed within the household….” Or, at any rate, second – and third, and fourth – thoughts about this insistence might be had by their spouses.