HOME, INC.: The Hidden Wealth and Power of the American Household by Scott Burns

HOME, INC.: The Hidden Wealth and Power of the American Household

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America will not be transformed by greening,"" but by backyard nuts and bolts. According to Bums there exists a ""home economy"" that in 1965 produced $300 billion in goods and services--a sum that exceeds the GNP of the Soviet Union. Just figure in garage repairs and so forth by husbands, domestic tasks by children over twelve, and the ""$13,364"" worth of labor by women in the home. Not to mention the $4800 in chauffeur's wages, measured by taxi rates. Burns does not extend these calculations to the economic value of scratching one's own back. Instead he devotes about a third of the book to the following projection: In 1976 Congress is going to enact a Special Capital Bank to bail out corporate America. This will fail around Christmas of 1982, and the ensuing stock market crash will wipe out private corporations and make all industry state-run. All right--we will still need some industry to manufacture the storm windows that represent a better rate of return on investment now than Coca-Cola or Xerox, and by 2000 the average home will be energy-sufficient, produce its own food and clothing, and depend on cooperatives. Commerce will give way to the Whole Earth Catalogue, and meanwhile, remember that ""Only the household economy provides a haven from inflation and taxation."" The idea of a haven is the essence of Burns' chirpy-cheering futurologizing--he appeals to the impulse to pull up the drawbridge on the terrifying outside world, and he home-bakes his bread with no hashish additives--just a ""Time is Money"" motto over the stove.

Pub Date: Aug. 22nd, 1975
Publisher: Doubleday