This book, first published in 1992, seeks an explanation of the pattern of sharp discrepancy of wage levels across the world-economy for work of comparable productivity. It explores how far such differences can be explained by the different structures of households as 'income-pooling units', examining three key variables: location in the core or periphery of the world-economy; periods of expansion versus periods of contraction in the world-economy; and secular transformation over time. The authors argue that both the boundaries of households and their sources of income are molded by the changing patterns of the world-economy, but are also modes of defense against its pressures. Drawing empirical data from eight local regions in three different zones - the United States, Mexico and southern Africa - this book presents a systematic and original approach to the intimate link between the micro-structures of households and the structures of the capitalist world-economy at a global level.
• Households are a trendy subject with a potential market in many academic disciplines (note women's studies market) • There are eight studies presenting a unified approach to households. Regions covered are USA, Mexico, and southern Africa. There will be particular interest from those working on these areas due to the empirical data presented • Immanuel Wallerstein is a star figure in political economy, sociology, and world-systems analysis. It is his approach (the world-economy) which is followed in this book
Preface Joan Smith and Immanuel Wallerstein; 1. Household as an institution of the world-economy Immanuel Wallerstein and Joan Smith; 2. The United States Kathie Friedman Kasada; (a) The Detroit Story: the crucible of Fordism Kathleen Stanley and Joan Smith; (b) New York City: the underside of the world's capital Kathie Friedman Kasada; (c) Binghamton: the secrets of a backwater Randall H. McGuire and Cynthia Woodsong; (d) Puerto Rico: from colony to colony Maria Del Carmen Baega; 3. Mexico Lanny Thompson; (a) Mexico City: the slow rise of wage-centered households Lanny Thompson; (b) Central Mexico: the decline of subsistence and the rise of poverty Lanny Thompson; 4. Southern Africa Mark Beittel; (a) The Witwatersrand: black households, white households Mark Beittel; (b) Lesotho: the creation of the households William G. Martin; 5. Core-periphery and household structures Immanuel Wallerstein and Joan Smith; Postscript on method Joan Smith and Jamie Sudler; Bibliography.