UFPPC (www.ufppc.org) Digging Deeper LXVII: December 29, 2008, 7:00 p.m.

Riane Eisler, The Real Wealth of Nations: Creating a Caring Economics (San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler, 2008).

Introduction: Reasons to Care [January 2007]. Eisler proposes a “new perspective on economics” based on “my research over the past thirty years applying evolutionary systems science to social systems” and opposing “the partnership or mutual respect system and the domination or top-down control system” (3). Overview of book (4-5).

as “two basic social categories”; Eisler blames domination (marked by rigid gender roles and other hidden values) for the failure to value caring (27-30). Systemic change is needed (36-42). Practical steps toward this change (4246).

Ch. 1: We Need a New Economics. Criticizes “a lack of caring” in our approach to personal, social, and environmental problems (7-9; declines to define caring precisely [238-39n.7]). Economic models are flawed (10-12). The unpaid community economy, the household economy, and the natural economy must be integrated into the model (12-14). Economic systems are created by humans (14-16). Ways must be found to acknowledge the value of caring work (16-19). Basic questions (2021). Six foundations: an adequate “economic map”; cultural beliefs valuing caring; policies rewarding caring; inclusive economic indicators; more equitable social structures; an economic theory incorporating partnership (21-25).

Ch. 3: It Pays to Care—in Dollars and Cents. SAS Institute (Carey, NC) exemplifies caring policies (47-49). Statistical evidence (49-53). Social science research (53-56). The cost of not supporting good care for children (5658). “Ultimately, the real wealth of a nation lies in the quality of its human and natural capital” (58). Scandinavia and U.S. contrasted (58-63). The costs of “uncaring economics” are hidden by present methods of evaluation (63-66). The system is accepted because it acculturates people to project an internalized “punitive father” archetype onto government (66-68).

Ch. 2: Economics Through a Wider Lens. To change economics we must look deep into society to discover the principles of partnership vs. domination

Ch. 4: The Economic Double Standard. Dominator values have been inscribed generally in modernity, including socialism (69-74). They are still strong (74-79). Theirroots are much deeper than the Bible (80). Economic indicators valuingcaring include opportunity-cost, global-substitute, and the replacement-cost methods (81-85).

Policy possibilities (86-87). Eislercoauthored a 1995 study showing that women’s status correlates with general quality of life (88-89). There is evidence that a global shift is underway (90-91).

Ch. 5: Connecting the Dots. The “dominator configuration” is characterized by punitiveness, violence, hierarchy, corruption, and sexism (93101). The “partnership configuration” is marked by rewards andpleasure, greater equality, trust, and gender equality (10205). Teduray of the Philippines (105-06). Minangkabau [of western Sumatra] (10607). Nordic nations (107-11). Partnership social structures have hierarchies, but they are hierarchies of actualization often embodyingparticipatory mechanisms (112-14). But networks are not inherently partnership-oriented (114-16).

Two dozen economists with a broader view named: John Maynard Keynes, John Kenneth Galbraith, Amartya Sen, Herman Daly, Paul Hawken, David Korten, Paul Krugman, Manfred Max-Neef, Robert Reich, Hernando de Soto, Joseph Stiglitz, Barbara Brandt, Edgar Cahn, Nancy Folbre, Janet Gornick, Mona Harrington, Heidi Hartmann, Hazel Henderson, Duncan Ironmonger, Julie Nelson, Hilkka Pietila, and Marilyn Waring(153-54). Examples of work toward revisioning economics (154-60). The institution of the corporation must be changed so corporations are no longer “instruments of the domination system” (160-64).

Ch. 6: The Economics of Domination. “It’s not capitalism that’s the ogre; it’s the underlying dominator beliefs, structures, and habits we’ve inherited” (117). History of dominator cultures (117-24). Their role in perpetuating hunger and scarcity (124-34). Environmental effects (134-38).

Ch. 8: Technology, Work, and the Postindustrial Era. A “postmodern technological convergence” of biotechnology, nanotechnology, and artificial intelligence is underway (166). We must ensure that new technologies contribute to a more humane world (16566). Robotics offers an opportunity to redefine work (166-69). There is a great risk that nanotechnology will be used to dominate (169-73). Science has often incorporated dominator values (174-77). Three basic types of technology: 1) life support; 2) actualization; 3) destruction (177-80). But the most critical problems facing humanity are not technological (180-85).

Ch. 7: The Economics of Partnership. The prospect of a different kind of society comes from a “vision of progress” that grew up alongside the “industrial revolution” (139-40). There was a “capitalist vision” (140-42) and a “socialist vision” (142-46). Neither is adequate today; we need a new “partneristeconomic theory” (146-53).

Ch. 9: Who We Are and Where We Are. Our capacity for partnership and caring is ‘wired’ into us, is part of who we are, just as much as our capacity for domination and cruelty (187-93). Many problems arise from the upbringing characteristic of dominator families (193-

99). The history of modernity can be told as “the thrust toward partnership countered by the push back to domination” (201; 199-204). Reversion to domination, of which fundamentalism is one example, is engendered by fears and insecurities (204-06). The NGO movement and many other developments exemplify caring (206-11).

Bibliography. 16 pp. About 270 entries.

Acknowledgments. Editors, agent, family, etc.

Index. 20 pp. Ch. 10: The Caring Revolution. Social and psychological habits can be changed (213-15). List of criteria as a guide toward a sustainable economic system (215-19). Governments and businesses need to design new tools of measurement and to adopt new priorities (219-22). Social activists need to form “a powerful national and international movement to change the foundational relations that have been ignored in mainstream economic theory: the primary human relations between men and women and between parents and children”; women’s equality is key (22225). Thanks to “ripple effects,” profound change is possible (226-28). Each of us can act to “include the word caring” inconversations about economics and advocate for, act upon, and teach that value (228-33). We can use the capacity for choice evolution has developed in us to choose to remake the more caring world we want (233-35).

Notes. 40 pp.

[About the Author. Riane Eisler was born in 1930 or 1931 in Vienna, Austria. She grew up in Cuba, then came to the U.S. She has degrees in sociology and law from the University of California. She has taught at UCLA and Immaculate Heart College in Los Angeles. Her bestknown book is The Chalice and the Blade (1987), which has been translated into more than twenty other languages. She is a co-founder of the General Evolution Research Group, a fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science and the World Business Academy, and with the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu is a commissioner of the World Commission on Global Consciousness and Spirituality. She co-founded the Spiritual Alliance to Stop Intimate Violence (SAIV) and is president of the Center for Partnership Studies in Pacific Grove, CA (she lives in Carmel). Other books by Riane Eisler include Sacred Pleasure: Sex, Myth, and the Politics of the Body (1996) and Educating for a Culture of Peace (2004).]

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful