Creating a Caring Economics

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* Book: Riane Eisler. The Real Wealth of Nations: Creating a Caring Economics. Berrett-Koehler, 2008

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From the publisher:

"The great problems of our time such as poverty, inequality, war, terrorism, and environmental degradation are due in part to our flawed economic models that set the wrong priorities and misallocate resources. Conventional economic measures, policies, and practices fail to give visibility and value to the most essential human work the work of caring and caregiving. This powerful book proposes that we need a radical reformulation of economics, one that supports caring and caregiving at the individual, organizational, societal, and environmental levels. This ""caring economics"" takes into account the full spectrum of economic activities from the life-sustaining activities of the household, to the life-enriching activities of caregivers and communities of all types, to the life-supporting processes of nature. Eisler exposes the economic double standard that devalues anything stereotypically associated with women and femininity and shows how this distorts our values and our lives."


John C. Havens:

"When the GDP was developed in the early 20th century, caregiving and raising children were considered women’s work, not worthy of inclusion in the metrics comprising the score. As Riane Eisler, president of the Center for Partnership Studies and author of The Real Wealth of Nations: Creating a Caring Economics, notes, “Studies show that if caregiving work were included, it would constitute between 30% and 50% of the reported GDP.”

This “household” or “nonmarket” product—which beyond caregiving activities includes cooking, gardening, and housework according to a 2012 report—is not only economically significant but, if measured, could improve women’s lives (or the men who do equivalent tasks). Were the GDP to be updated in 2018 to recognize that women globally provide these essential undervalued services, metrics would likely change to better incorporate the fundamental activities that underpin traditional economic measures. As the report states in its findings, “Home production reduces measured income in equality.”

But society has chosen not to update this outdated metric. And as a result, the GDP is sexist. Plain and simple. It’s time to upgrade the system to galvanize “household production”—and the women who provide the majority of it—as something worthy of measure." (

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