Families, efficiency, gender, and justice

Samantha Brennan
University of Guelph
I'm going to focus my comments on a relatively small part of Joe Heath's book, the section on the household division of labour. Although it's a small piece of a much larger picture, I've chosen this area for two reasons: First, it connects with my own interests in issues of family justice. Second, I think for me it highlights a potentially larger problem concerning the relationship between justice and efficiency. When Heath puts the contrast between those who place rights before efficiency in terms of a contrast between the US and Canadian health care systems, I find that I'm in agreement with the argument for efficiency. But when I think about the contrast in terms of the question of the gendered division of domestic labour, I'm less certain that I want to accord efficiency the kind of status it has according to Heath. (I must confess that I've always thought of Canada as the just society, rather than the efficient society. If it turns out..
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