10 Chapters
Medium 9781576756294

CHAPTER 4: THE ECONOMIC DOUBLE STANDARD

Eisler, Riane Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Sometimes we don’t see what is in plain sight. This is particularly true when it comes to beliefs and values we’ve inherited.

In the Bible, we’re told that when King David had his famous affair with Bathsheba, he had her husband sent to the front lines, where his rival was conveniently killed. But instead of being punished for adultery and murder, David continued to reign.1 On the other hand, under biblical law a girl accused of not being a virgin would be taken by her father to the city gates and slowly stoned to death.2

The Bible also tells us that men could sell their daughters into slavery as servants or concubines and that marriage itself was a sales transaction. In Genesis, we read that Jacob worked seven years to get Laban’s daughter Rachel for his wife, and when Laban gave him her older sister Leah instead, he had to work another seven years to finally get the woman he’d bargained for. Another famous biblical story tells of how Lot offered his little daughters to a mob to be gang-raped—and instead of being punished, was chosen by God as the only moral man in the sinful cities of Sodom and Gomorrah!3

See All Chapters
Medium 9781576756294

CHAPTER 9: WHO WE ARE AND WHERE WE ARE

Eisler, Riane Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Ryan Hreljac was six years old when his first-grade teacher in North Grenville, Canada, told his class that children in Africa were getting sick and dying because they had no clean water. Ryan decided to start raising money to help. He did extra household chores to earn his first $70, and then enlisted others to raise the $2,000 needed so that in 1999 a water well could be drilled near the Angolo School in Northern Uganda. Since then, with the support of nonprofit organizations such as WaterCan and Free the Children, the Ryan’s Well Foundation has raised over $1 million to help build 196 wells in ten countries serving over 350,000 people.1

When Clara Hale died in 1992 at the age of eighty-seven, she had taken care of over eight hundred children: children with AIDS, children of drug-addicted mothers, children no one wanted. At first, she cared for abandoned children in her little Harlem apartment, where within six months she had twenty-two babies, all with HIV. As time went on, with the support of local officials, she was able to acquire a brownstone. There, she and her staff continued to put into action her credo that all children need and deserve love.2

See All Chapters
Medium 9781576756294

CHAPTER 8: TECHNOLOGY, WORK, AND THE POSTINDUSTRIAL ERA

Eisler, Riane Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

When Czech playwright Karel Capek coined the word robot in 1920, devices that act, work, and think like humans were fantasies. Now robotics and other forms of automation are realities. Robots are routinely used in manufacturing in the United States, Japan, and other industrialized nations. Automated devices process millions of Internet sales, handle banking and other business transactions, answer customer phone calls, sort and evaluate military intelligence, monitor stock deals, and perform thousands of other functions that until recently were done exclusively by people.

Humanoid robots like Star Wars’ lovable R2D2 and 3CPO were also not long ago science fiction creatures. Now they too are becoming realities. In the United States, a Carnegie-Mellon University team developed a mobile robotic companion for the home that uses natural language voice commands and provides information from the Internet, like weather and television schedules.1 Even robot dogs are on the way. Cynthia Breazeal at the MIT media lab is putting together a computerized dog that reads pedometers and bathroom scales to gather information about weight, activity, and eating habits. The robot dog will help people lose weight by monitoring their daily food intake and exercise levels and warning them not to eat forbidden foods.2

See All Chapters
Medium 9781576756294

CHAPTER 10: THE CARING REVOLUTION

Eisler, Riane Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

As Gandhi said, we shouldn’t mistake what is habitual for what is normal. We were not born with unhealthy habits. We had to learn them. We can unlearn them, and help others do the same.

Many of our economic habits were shaped by a warped story of human nature and an economic double standard that gives little or no value to the essential work of caring and caregiving. The measures of productivity we habitually use include market activities that harm our health and natural environment while assigning no value to the life-supporting activities of households and nature. The money that central banks create and circulate bears little relation to any tangible assets.1 Quarterly corporate reports fail to factor in the health and environmental damage a company’s products or activities cause. Government policies, too, are often based on fantasies rather than realities, as dramatically shown by the George W. Bush administration’s denial of the urgent need to take action against global warming.

We have a choice. We can keep complaining about greed, fraud, and cutthroat business practices. We can put up with the daily stress of unsuccessfully juggling jobs and family. We can tell ourselves there’s nothing we can do about policies that damage our natural environment, create huge gaps between haves and have-nots, and lead to untold suffering. Or we can join together to help construct a saner, sounder, more caring economics and culture.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781576756294

CHAPTER 1: WE NEED A NEW ECONOMICS

Eisler, Riane Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Jim Cross graduated at the top of his applied computer science class. But he hasn’t found a job in California’s prosperous Silicon Valley, once the golden Mecca for high-wage technology jobs. While sales and profits in the region have been skyrocketing again—an average of more than 500 percent over three years—employment has actually declined.

In Nigeria, Marian Mfunde has just buried her second baby. Like her first son—and millions of African children every year—her five-month-old daughter died of hunger. Marian herself is sick with HIV, which she contracted from her husband before he left to seek work in the capital, and was never heard from again.

In Rio de Janeiro, nine-year-old Rosario Menen sleeps on the street. She lives in terror of rats, rapists, and the police squads that periodically evict and brutalize street children. Like thousands of Brazilian girls and boys, Rosario has no place to go and no one to care for her.

In Riyadh, eighteen-year-old Ahmad Haman just joined a fundamentalist terrorist cell. In his native Saudi Arabia, his financial prospects are dim.1 Population in the Middle East has tripled in the last fifty years, to 380 million in 2000 from 100 million in 1950—and today close to two-thirds of those 380 million Middle Easterners are under age twenty-five, and jobs are scarce.2 Even in his oil-rich nation, Ahmad finds the promise of a heavenly afterlife with seventy virgins if he blows himself up in a suicide bombing more promising than his earthly future.3

See All Chapters

See All Chapters