Economic Lives

By Viviana A. Zelizer,

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Why read it?

1 author picked Economic Lives as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Viviana Zelizer’s book told me the fascinating story of the cultural transition from a time when children provide to parents mostly financial well-being to a time when children provide only life well-being.

In the 18th century, in America, parents welcomed the arrival of their children mostly as workers when children were young and as security when parents were old. By the mid-19th century, however, parents of the urban elite welcomed their children mostly for their life well-being benefits in love, smiles, and successes that make parents proud.

Children, in Zelizer’s language, became ‘sacralized,’ economically worthless but emotionally priceless. By the…

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