- 社會經濟史學 (ISSN:00380113)
- vol.43, no.3, pp.273-294, 329-328, 1977-09-30
By the turn of this century the idea of family wage-the assumption that a man's wage should provide for all the family-had been established in England. This article attempts to trace its formation in England during the nineteenth century primarily in the light of changing attitudes toward women's, especially married women's, labour. For various reasons and at different periods after the Industrial Revolution many of the English wives ceased to engage themselves in productive activities at home. Earlier it was taken for granted that the wives of the working people should earn something to contribute to their family budgets, which meant that a man's wage did not need to be so much as to keep their wives. When working-class wives lost the opportunities to earn their living at home some of them went to work in factories, and there was much talk about and against mothers working in factories. What with the Victorian notion of perfect women, what with the upper and middle classes' apprehension about the working-class moral and physical deterioration as a result of working wives, and what with male workers' intention to secure their labour market, it was generally agreed that it was desirable for wives to stay at home to do their household duties and to take care of children.Not only was it based on the middle-class view of family, but it came to be the desire of working-class men and women. Also it was commended as a social policy when Alfred Marshall wrote, ` The necessaries for the efficiency of an ordinary agricultural or of an unskilled town labourer and his family, in England in this generation, may be said to Consist of a well-drained dwelling with several rooms, warm clothing; with some changes of under-clothing, pure water, a plentiful supply of cereal food, with a moderate allowance of meat and milk, and a little tea, c., some education and some recreation, and lastly sufficient freedom for his wife from other work to enable her to perform properly her maternal and her household duties.' (my italics) Such freedom Of a wife presupposes that her husband's wage can provide for her and their little children. Thus toward the end of the nineteenth century family wage came to be an ideal in terms of social policy, common practice among the middle class, and wish and desire of working-class men and women.