Doug Henwood dhenwood at
Fri Dec 4 08:48:53 PST 1998

[another bounced from Daniel - please post from the address you're subscribed to!]

Reply-To: <daniel at> From: "Daniel" <drdq at> To: <lbo-talk at> Subject: servants Date: Thu, 3 Dec 1998 21:14:37 -0800 Message-ID: <000601be1f44$fd0a4b20$11e2afce at default> MIME-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: text/plain;

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Well, I see now that there is no simple answer the question about how wealthy the top quintile is. I won't ask how a science can be made out of such a mushy world of numbers?

I think Nathan's idea about paying "domestics" properly is not bad. I don't suppose we'll live to see a day when every man does his own dusting. It's my opinion that we live in a house that is too big if we have to get someone to clean it for us. The economists on the list might get a laugh out of hearing me say that, as an amateur, but slightly avid, reader of economics for many years, I still think the best thing I've ever read is the first chapter of Walden: isn't it called "Economy," or something like that? Man, it was good. No confusing numbers to deal with in that little piece. Damn the numbers. I say, let's just do the right thing.

For my part, I couldn't have a servant, EVEN IF I could stand somebody cleaning up my messes, which I can't, UNLESS I paid that person what I would expect to be paid for the same work. I rather doubt that anybody on this list, even anyone of the tenured ones, has enough money to get me to clean their house for them. It's not that I mind domestic chores. I don't mind them at all. But, I'm sensitive about servitude. So, my price perforce is very high. I'm not saying I'm a man without a price, mind you. Buy me a round-trip fair to Europe, and I'll give anybody's house a quick brushup.

Oddly enough, I'm happy to compose a symphony for no price at all. Which is also why it is not for sale. How does one square such perversities with the labor theory of value? Or, any other theory for that matter.


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