The `Cannibalized' Family

THINGS that people used to do for themselves, the market now does for them, for money. For Edgar Cahn, this is one reason families and communities often feel helpless today. ``McDonald's now provides the meals,'' Mr. Cahn recently told a Washington audience. ``KinderCare, the child care. Videotapes and video stores, the entertainment. Insurance companies, the protection. Health clubs and spas, the exercise. Public and private schools, the education, such as it is.''

``The Baby M [surrogate mother] case showed the ultimate extent to which we can contract out to the market economy the functions previously performed by the nonmarket economy,'' he says.

Cahn hopes time-credit programs will help communities reclaim the functions the market economy has ``cannibalized.'' ``If all we have to bid with is money, we will be outbid for our young by the drug dealers, for the best brains by the Ivan Boeskys, for elected officials by PACs [political action committees].''

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