October 7, 2019
By Liz Copeland, Caring Economy leader
Liz Copeland, certified caring economy leader and political and social justice activist in Albuquerque, New Mexico, offers this timely response to the July 29, 2019 essay in The New Yorker “The Invention of Money”.
I am writing to share with the CPS community a copy of a letter I sent in response to an essay published in the August 5 – 12, 2019 print edition of The New Yorker Magazine. The essay “The Invention of Money,” was written by John Lanchester, a Contributing Editor to the London Review of Books.
I crossed my fingers soon after submitting my response to the essay — sent electronically on August 17, 2019 — in the hopes that an editor at the magazine will find Riane Eisler’s life-long work in partnership-based economic systems worthy of a deep investigation. Ideally, such an investigation would include, but — not be limited by — Riane’s critique of mainstream economics and the failure of the field’s paradigm to include absolutely essential contributions to wealth and commerce currently unacknowledged in its analysis.
Here is a link to the original New Yorker article and the text of my response to the magazine:
John Lanchester’s essay offers startling insights into that which makes the world go ‘round. It also generates more questions than answers. It is time to pay attention to powerful critiques of economic doctrine, erroneously characterized as a science. As my father who taught economics to undergraduates at the University of New Mexico noted, “All economics is political economics.” In particular, it is way past time for college students, professors of economics, and the general public to grasp that Adam Smith and other Western European male intellectuals made a big mistake when deciding that what occurred in “the male sphere” was all one needed to know about how an economy works. Hint: no economy will last for long if no one is caring for the children.
One of the outstanding intellectuals who offer a feminist alternative to ‘Economics 101’ is Riane Eisler, JD, one of many women whose life-path changed when feminism’s so-called “second wave” began in the 1960’s.
The Real Wealth of Nations: Creating a Caring Economics, Eisler’s eleventh book, was published in 2008. In it, Eisler describes a “full spectrum map” of the real economy, including the unpaid work of caring, which globally is done primarily by women; and contributions made by nature.
Since the book’s publication, the non-profit Center for Partnership Studies (CPS), founded in 1987 and guided by Eisler, has supported several projects to further develop ways to measure contributions from these two sectors. Projects include: commissioning an Urban Institute report, The State of Society Measuring Economic Success and Human Well-Being, published in 2010; co-sponsoring with the Urban Institute in 2012 a meeting of twenty leading experts on the economy focused on paving the way for developing Social Wealth Economic Indicators (SWEI’s) and their potential contribution to the new Key National Indicators System authorized by Congress; publication in 2014 of Social Wealth Economic Indicators: A New System for Evaluating Economic Prosperity authored by MIT-trained Indradeep Ghosh and Riane Eisler.
Eisler spoke recently at a 75th anniversary of the Bretton Woods economic conference organized by Silicon entrepreneur Galia Benartzi, co-creator of an automated, open-source, not-for-profit liquidity network. As reported by journalist Rickey Gard Diamond in a new offering on Ms. Magazine online, “Women Unscrewing Screwnomics,” Eisler was one of the keynote speakers at Benartzi’s roundtable. Unlike the inaugural 1944 all-male gathering organized by FDR to shape a stable post-WWII world, this recent anniversary event featured presentations from men and women in equal measure.
My fingers are still crossed, but in the meantime, we can all do our part to advocate, with media and in our spheres of influence, for a caring economics that includes and values the work of the larger half of humanity: women and children.
Liz Copeland has a considerable range of work experience, both paid and volunteer. She worked on two primary Congressional campaigns for candidates seeking to run as Democrats in the 2018 general election. In late 2017 she proposed a resolution to the New Mexico’s Democratic Party’s State Platform and Resolution Committee (SPARC) calling for adoption of Social Wealth Economic Indicators (SWEIs). In addition to teaching in public schools grades K through 12 and supporting students in the New Mexico State Commission for the Blind’s summer program for visually impaired teens, Liz helped the activist group “Justice. Do it Nike!” (JDIN) bring Medea Benjamin to speak at the City Club of Portland about labor conditions overseas. Liz lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Contact Liz: firstname.lastname@example.org