The Rise and Decline of Patriarchal Systems

The Rise and Decline of Patriarchal Systems:An Intersectional Political Economy

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A major new work of feminism from the MacArthur Award–winning economist

Why do patriarchal systems survive? In this groundbreaking work of feminist theory, Nancy Folbre examines the contradictory effects of capitalist development. She explains why the work of caring for others is under-valued and under-rewarded in today's global economy, calling attention to the organisation of childrearing, the care of other dependants, and the inheritance of assets. Upending conventional definitions of the economy based only on the market, Folbre emphasizes the production of human capabilities in families and communities and the social reproduction of group solidarities. Highlighting the complexity of hierarchical systems and their implications for political coalitions, The Rise and Decline of Patriarchal Systems sets a new feminist agenda for the twenty-first century.


  • an outstandingly provocative book about the economics of care and reciprocity
    (praise for The Invisible Heart)

    New York Times
  • original, challenging, and illuminating ... ought to change the way we think about the economy, about economics, and about the family (praise for The Invisible Heart)

    The Independent Review, A Journal of Political Economy
  • Folbre makes an important contribution to the discussion of what our society could be, and her humor and insight elevate her book above mere political diatribe.
    (Praise for The Invisible Heart)

    Publishers Weekly