Monday, January 28, 2013

Modeling the home as a production process.

You must have a family of your own. You must have experienced the joys and pain of raising children, earning a living, doing shopping, paying taxes and mortgages, and most especially planning for daily life. You might not need the skills of an accountant, although for some families it might come in handy, but you surely must need the skills of a business manager to successfully run your house while putting in that of a deft consumer.

Make a journal of the daily activities of you and your spouse. If you are not yet
Taking care of a room like this requires division of labor.
married, try to imagine yourself so. You will discover that a home functions and is organized like a firm and its processes can mirror the production processes of the typical firm.

The goal of a typical home is to maximize family well-being. The husband and wife will do all within their power to make sure that they perform the above home activities in such a way that the marginal costs of caring for the family’s daily needs and the marginal benefits of doing so satisfies allocative efficiency. They will both not have the tools of business managers and the record keeping abilities of accountants and marketers, but they surely understand the juggling act involved in producing products like a meal, clean homes, healthy and enviable kids, a healthy home environment along with affordable housing. They both understand division of labor.

Every family have their unique way of production. Some were taught by their parents, in-laws or grandparents. Others might utilize a skill that is uniquely theirs, which confers them with power of monopoly. Whichever way, I wish them success.

The inputs to the process

On a typical day, at the rising of the sun, a couple who share the same bed have one goal in mind. They share the same goal as billions of couples all over the world. At sunset, when night approaches, whether they have succeeded is anyone’s guess. That goal is to make sure the home runs smoothly and is a haven of love, peace and joy. Secondary to it, is to give the kids an environment where they can develop their abilities to continue from where their parents left off.

To make this successful, some couples have different factors of production in their favor. They could be living in their own home, whether bought outright from real estate agents or by mortgage and are still paying the mortgage, they have innate abilities and skills which have as foundation what their parents taught them years ago, they derive joy from doing both market work in the home if they work –from-home or nonmarket work in the kitchen, garden and bedrooms, whichever, using savings from income and inherited wealth. Not to be forgotten is the fact that they both strive whether with few, much or enough resources to make the effort that is necessary and sufficient to make the home what they wanted it to be; to attain a quality of life which they envy and would want others to envy.

A family is a little factory that has constantly churned out in mass numbers kids, love and joy, and contributed enormously to the well-being of its members for generations and centuries and will continue to do so. Even in the face of an apocalypse, the family factory is the only industry that might survive.

The production process modeled

Imagine a family of four: husband, wife and two kids. The mother stays at home while the husband works, whether fulltime or part-time. Daily, this couple juggle the act of combining the exigencies of the marketplace, the workplace, the home and the need to efficiently and effectively use the resources they have, bearing in mind the opportunity costs of doing so, so that at the end of the month they could have savings as a store of reserve for the rainy day. Some run into debt and borrow to survive, although borrowing to survive could be a decision enhancing their ability to make savings for their future consumption needs.

Due to customs and tradition, we would expect the wife to do the cooking. It will not be out of place for the husband to help her out, especially during the weekends. It would be a joy if they both carry out the shopping, although decisions as to what to buy and store in the kitchen will be the province of the wife. As for organizing the house and the activities that makes the home run smoothly, it is the responsibility of both of them which any rational and reasonable person would expect the wife to take a greater share of the production at this stage because she stays at home.

Women love catching up with the Joneses. Men do also. From experience, I have found that the wives are prone to fix appointments like what wedding invitation they can attend and should not attend come Saturdays, what family to invite over for the holidays and whether their kids can go over to grandpa and grandmas during school break. The wife takes care of helping the kids do their homework and expects the husband, no matter how tight his schedule, even if he runs a corporation, to help her out. Mothers usually are wont to talk to the kids about sex, but fathers should take the pain to explain sex and sexual matters to their kids before it is too late. That responsibility should not be left to the mother.

Broaching that vexing issue: finances. Generally, where there is a man, he usually takes care of financial matters like mortgages, taxes, loans and allotment for the family car. They should both plan their consumption together, especially as it relates to credit cards, while the wife is probably more efficient and effective when it involves utilities and kitchen appliances.

As for taking care of the garden, the husband can initiate cutting grass with the wife with the kids looking on and maybe gathering the rubbish for the trash bin. If she is desirous, planting flowers that are in season will bring joy to the home.

Finally, the spiritual needs of the home, attending church services and bible readings, requires the support and input of every member of the family.

The essence is to make the home a haven of love, joy and peace

The above model is simplistic but is what I believe you can find in any family desirous of love, joy and peacefulness. A home where happiness reigns is a home where wealth can settle in, where incomes make meaningful impact and the children live up to their potential. No two families will earn the same income, but every family should make it an ambition to have an equal opportunity to be able to produce and provide what they sought out the day the husband and wife said: “I do.”

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