I keep hearing the phrase we shut the economy down being voiced by politicians and economists everywhere. What remarkable powers government actors think they possess. We told people to stay home, ergo there is no economy. How wrong they are.
Who cooks for you, Mr. Smith? Who does your washing, house cleaning, sewing, etcetera? The politicians and economists will answer something like we don’t measure that part of the economy. That is the error in their precept. All that work is essential, but they don’t measure that.
Adam Smith would have derided this work as women’s work, as have most men since his time. What they call women’s work is the most essential work anyone can do, and it is the exact same work that you cannot just stop doing. Calling something women’s work, and therefore not measuring that work, is the perfect example of confirmation bias. If it was important, the men would be doing it. However, women do most of the working in this world. They have to do most of the work because they are more than half of the population.
Maybe we should at least make the attempt to measure the work that currently goes unmeasured. We should at least make the attempt to measure how much of the economy is left when only essential services are running. Then we might get a baseline measurement as to how much work goes unrewarded in the parts of the economy they do measure.