If we assume – I am not sure we can assume – that the advert for a nanny in New York at a sum that no post-Doc and no Early Years practitioner would dream of (current link here: not sure it’s stable) is not a spoof, then what would it say about Early Years?
It might tell readers that these are people with more money than sense, certainly without a sense of what the market could offer (a similar person for half the salary for example). It might also indicate a willingness on the part of the family to prize academic qualification over professional qualification or experience.
It just might, however, suggest that parents who have the money to do so could think seriously about much they value the education and care of the youngest people in their family. What, really, is the price for bringing up baby? It is as if this advert, genuine or not, points back to George Monbiot’s argument about forests: how can we reduce some things to unit costs?
And yet, of course, we do. How much can I afford in childcare? What help will the Government give me? How much does a childminder earn?
Until someone shows me otherwise, however, I think I will stick to the position I have reached: that this is not genuine, but a satirical way of criticising either the poor financing of postdoctoral study, or the even poorer salaries of EY workers – or both.
The question remains, however: is cost really reducible to a unit-by-unit cost benefit analysis, or do we have to acknowledge this is a threadbare way of “un-valuing” some things?