Episode 24: “The Real Wealth of Nations: Creating A Caring Economics” by Riane Eisler

The Real Wealth of Nations

The Real Wealth of Nations: Creating a Caring Economics shows that our most important economic assets are not financial – the real wealth of nations consists of the contributions of people and our natural environment. Dr. Eisler draws from many fields in addition to economics, including advances in both the social and natural sciences. She also proposes practical steps for moving both economic and social systems in a positive direction.

The Author

RIANE EISLER is a social systems scientist, cultural historian, futurist, and attorney whose research, writing, and speaking has transformed the lives of people worldwide. Her newest work, Nurturing Our Humanity: How Domination and Partnership Shape Our Brains, Lives, and Future, co-authored with anthropologist Douglas Fry (Oxford University Press in July 2019), shows how to construct a more equitable, sustainable, and less violent world based on Partnership rather than domination.

Our Guest

Dr. Julie de Azevedo Hanks

Dr. Julie de Azevedo Hanks holds an MSW from the University of Utah and a PhD from the University of Louisiana at Monroe. In 2002, she founded Wasatch Family Therapy an outpatient therapy clinic in Salt Lake City and Bountiful, UT. Dr. Hanks has authored two books: The Burnout Cure and The Assertiveness Guide for Women, and has written over 1000 blog posts. As a national and local media contributor Dr. Hanks has appeared on hundreds of TV, print, radio, and podcast programs, and she currently hosts her own podcast, Ask Dr. Julie Hanks. Her research interests include mental health, social work education and technology, gender roles in family life, and the development of partnership families.

“[Dominator economics systems tend to include]: misdistribution of resources to those on top, heavy investment in armaments, lack of investment in meeting human needs, ruthless exploitation of nature, and waste of natural and human resources from wars and other forms of violence – all of which are inherent in the domination system. (33) …If we look at our current fiscal priorities, we see that policymakers always seem to find money for control and domination – for prisons, weapons, wars. But we’re told there’s no money for caring and caregiving – for “feminine” activities, such as caring for children and people’s health, for nonviolence and peace.”

-Riane Eisler, “The Real Wealth of Nations”

“The higher status of Nordic women has important consequences for how men define masculinity. As the status of women rises, so does the status of caregiving, nonviolence, and other traits deemed inappropriate for men in dominator societies because they’re associated with “inferior” femininity. In partnership-oriented cultures, men can value these traits and activities in themselves as well as in society because women are no longer subordinate.”

– Riane Eisler, “The Real Wealth of Nations”

Amy’s Takeaways

Shortly after my second child was born, I wrote a paper trying to quantify the amount of money I would be making if the work I did all day (and night) were paid. I remember thinking “why do I care whether or not I make money? Am I being materialistic?” I wish I had read Eisler’s book then, and realized that I wasn’t being materialistic – it’s actually a legitimate question to wonder why our culture rewards some work with massive amounts of money, some with barely any (teachers), and some with none (domestic work/caregiving). The majority of the world’s poor are women and children, so whatever we think about politics and economics, the systems we’ve built are not working for everyone.

“By natural capital I don’t just mean a nation’s natural resources but also our planets’ ecological health, since without this we risk losing everything including our lives. This too is fundamental to caring economics.”

Riane Eisler

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