10 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 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
Medium 9781576756294

CHAPTER 3: IT PAYS TO CARE—IN DOLLARS AND CENTS

Eisler, Riane Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

The SAS Institute, the world’s largest privately held software company, is a highly successful business. It’s also a business that demonstrates the benefits of caring policies and practices in dollars and cents.

SAS is a leader in family-friendly policies. It has the largest on-site daycare operation in North Carolina. Its cafeteria has high chairs and booster seats for children so they can eat with their parents. The company pays the entire cost of health benefits for employees and their domestic partners. Workers are only required to work a seven-hour day, and employees get unlimited sick days, which may be used to care for sick family members.

SAS’s corporate headquarters in Carey, North Carolina, has a swimming pool, track, medical facilities, counseling services, and live music at lunch. Employees enjoy a thirty-six thousand square foot company gym with workout rooms and classes, an area for yoga, and two full-length basketball courts. Outside are fields for softball and soccer. A masseuse comes in several times a week, and employees can discuss their workouts with the company’s wellness coordinator. The company even washes employees’ gym clothes.

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 6"THE ECONOMICS OF DOMINATION

Eisler, Riane Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Some people see capitalism as an ogre that insatiably demands inequality and exploitation. They blame capitalism for all our ills, pointing to corporations that pollute our planet and disregard the welfare of employees, host communities, and even their shareholders. But it’s not capitalism that’s the ogre; it’s the underlying dominator beliefs, structures, and habits we’ve inherited.

It’s true that predatory capitalist practices cause great harm. But long before capitalist billionaires amassed huge fortunes, Egyptian pharaohs and Chinese emperors hoarded their nations’ wealth. Indian potentates demanded tributes of silver and gold, while lower castes lived in abject poverty. Middle Eastern warlords pillaged, plundered, and terrorized their people. European feudal lords killed their neighbors and oppressed their subjects.

In all these precapitalist societies, the idea that “common people” could be equal to their “betters” was inconceivable. Economic exploitation was just a fact of life—as was the misery of the masses, whose only hope, they were told, was a better afterlife.

See All Chapters

See All Chapters