In Britain today there are more servants than there were in Victorian times. As well as the traditional butlers, maids, valets and cooks who wait on the superrich,there are now tens of thousands of nannies, childminders, cleaners, aupairs, housekeepers, gardeners and drivers, together with the new 'concierge services', all ensuring that the middle classes live more comfortably. What is behind this spectacular rise? What is it that makes people from impoverished countries travel thousands of miles to wait on the well-off classes of the wealthier nations? And why is it that - contrary to one's expectations - the twenty-first century marks a new high point of domestic employment? The Servant Problem explores this extraordinary growth in paid domestic employment and the global trends that sustain it. The author shows how policies introduced and encouraged by governments and global financial organisations have made domestic employment cheaper, easier and more necessary. But she shows how, equally, these policies have intensified inequalities that make life worse for millions of people. Inequalities of income have increased dramatically, work practices have become less rather than more family friendly, changes in taxation and benefits have favoured themost wealthy and punished the worst off, and childcare provision still expects women to stay at home and look after the children. Drawing on interviews with employees from some of the richest areas of London the author also explores the reality of domestic labour in Britain today, revealing the lifestyles of some of the wealthiest people and how their domestic workers some of the lowest paid fit in. Employing domestic help is at best an individual solution to a social problem at worst, it is the use of another human being to enhance and display wealth and status. In The Servant Problem Rosie Cox provides a telling expos of domestic work today and challenges the inequalities and practices that sustain it. 'Filippa showed me in to the large open-plan living room, then quickly ushered me to her own room. It was just two metres square and had been made from the half landing of a staircase that was no longer used. There was a single bed, a small chest of drawers and a small television. Sitting on her narrow bed, Filippa told me about her life as an au pair in London'
Servant Problem, The
Domestic Employment in a Global Economy