Alliance For a Caring Economy

The Real Wealth of Nations: Creating a Caring Economics

 The Real Wealth of Nations gives us a template for the better world we have been so urgently seeking . . . this brilliant book shows how we can build economic systems that meet both our material and spiritual needs.

~ Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Laureate

The Real Wealth of Nations is a call to action. I whole-heartedly agree that it is not only politicians, businesses and financial institutions that must change, but rather each one of us must play a role in developing a more caring society. This book is an important tool that can help us make that happen.

~ Jane Goodall Ph.D., DBE, Founder, The Jane Goodall Institute & UN Messenger of Peace

America is teetering on the precipice of economic disaster. Commentators blame deregulated markets and a few bad apples at the top. But these are symptoms of deeper problems. Eminent social scientist and bestselling author Riane Eisler points the way to a sustainable and equitable economy that gives value to caring for our greatest economic assets: people and our natural environment.

This powerful book shows that the great problems of our time - such as poverty, inequality, war, terrorism, and environmental degradation - are due largely to flawed economic systems that set the wrong priorities and misallocate resources. Conventional economic models fail to value and support the most essential human work: caring and caregiving. So basic human needs are increasingly neglected, despair and ecological destruction escalate, and the resulting social tensions fuel many of the conflicts we face today.

Eisler offers a bold reformation: a caring economics that transcends traditional categories like capitalist and socialist and offers enormous economic and social benefits.

Like her classic, The Chalice and the Blade, The Real Wealth of Nations is a bold and insightful look at how to create a world in which everyone can achieve the full measure of their humanity.

She describes business policies and practices, innovative economic indicators that incorporate caregiving activities, and new social structures. And she lays out practical steps we can take to move towards a society based on this more humane and effective economic model.

Riane Eisler
Pub. Date: 
Published by: 
Berrett-Koehler Publishers

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Reviews and Accolades: 

Citing the most recent economic data and offering numerous relevant examples of places where efforts to practice a caring economics have succeeded both in preindustrial and modern societies, such as the Nordic nations, the book is ambitious in breadth, depth and scope. Eisler delivers another impressive work that's remarkably well referenced, well argued, insightful and hopeful.

~ Publisher's Weekly

Eisler precisely maps her detailed vision of a caring economy and diligently supports her concept with a fascinating spectrum of information and analysis of everything from how little we value child care to the true cost of war and pollution . . . Eisler argues cogently that now is the time to invest in life.

~ Booklist

A call to action. Not only must politicians, businesses and financial institutions change, each one of us must play a role in developing a more caring society. This book is an important tool that can help us make that happen.

~ Jane Goodall

Why has conventional economics been so slow to offer compelling, useful responses to our most threatening challenges, such as environmental degradation or raging inequalities? Riane Eisler answers this question, and in doing so, reinvents the dismal science, infusing it with the essential ingredients it needs to get us out of the terribly narrow box in which we’ve been stuck.

~ Jared Bernstein, Economic Policy Institute, author of All Together Now: Common Sense for a Fair Economy

Riane Eisler shows us how to value economically what is valuable humanly— and what could be more revolutionary than that? To imagine money not as the root of all evil, but the measure of all good, read The Real Wealth of Nations.

~ Gloria Steinem

In The Real Wealth of Nations, Riane Eisler, long a voice of sanity and clarity in an increasingly confusing world, does what has been desperately needed for a long time: bring back a human- and nature-centric perspective to economics to show how ends and means can be integrated. We had better get this right, because time is running out on governing our societies by rules and institutions that lack any real sense of what truly matters.

~ Peter Senge, author, The Fifth Discipline: the Art and Practice of the Learning Organization, Founder, Society for Organizational Learning, Senior Lecturer, MIT.

The Real Wealth of Nations: Creating a Caring Economics is a prescription for an economic system that is both equitable and sustainable. This book should be read and used by everyone who wants a better world!

~ Deepak Chopra, author, Life After Death: The Burden of Proof

This book should be mandatory reading for every CEO, every economist, every government official, every student, and every citizen of our world.

~ Jeffrey Hollender, President, Seventh Generation, Inc.

From third world poverty to climate change, it’s become increasingly clear that traditional economic thinking is not only unable to solve today’s myriad problems; it’s responsible for many of them. Riane Eisler's brilliant new book expands the scope and practice of economics beyond capitalism and socialism to a new economics in which equity, justice, and environmental sanity prevail. Must reading!

~ Morris Dees, Co-founder, Southern Poverty Law Center

An essential tool for government leaders, politicians, economists, and everyone looking for ways to halt environmental destruction, eradicate poverty, stabilize population, and build a better future, The Real Wealth of Nations shows us how to construct a sustainable new economy—and a good quality of life for our children and generations to come.

~ The Honorable Vigdis Finnbogadóttir, President of Iceland 1980-1996

In The Real Wealth of Nations, Riane Eisler lays out a comprehensive and compelling argument for why we must change national and global priorities about what work, and which workers, we value—including worldwide attitudes towards caring for our children.

~ Marian Wright Edelman, President, Children’s Defense Fund

In The Real Wealth of Nations, Riane Eisler dares us to tear down our preconceptions about what matters in economics—and move to an economic system that actually meets human needs and aspirations. This book should be read by every member of Congress, and its practical ideas incorporated into economic policy.

~ The Honorable Claudine Schneider, member of U.S. Congress 1980-1990

Riane Eisler has provided an accessible, fascinating, and persuasive argument for a caring perspective on economics. Brilliant.

~ Nel Noddings, Professor Emeritus of Education, Stanford University, author, The Challenge to Care in Schools and Starting at Home: Caring and Social Policy

This is a wonderful, hopeful, book not about where we have been economically, but about the potential for economics to reflect what we truly value, quality of life, and quality of the environment.

~ Daniel Kammen, Co-Director, Berkeley Institute of the Environment, Founding Director, Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory, University of California

Do you ever open your eyes in the morning and think, Oh, wow, why bother...? If so, you’ll be glad to hear that macrohistorian and cultural transformation theorist Riane Eisler has just delivered another massive and exhilarating dose of hope for the sane and weary, with the publication of her latest book, The Real Wealth of Nations: Creating a Caring Economics.

In The Chalice and the Blade, her 1987 introduction to “partnership” as the leitmotif of sane social engineering, Eisler persuasively argued that nonviolent, egalitarian, culturally advanced and prosperous societies have existed in the past and could certainly be made (by us) to exist again.

Now comes The Real Wealth of Nations, tackling the ominous gaps in our mental map of what economic theory is all about. An economy is more than the market, the government, and the military, says Eisler, eventually citing chapter and verse from a long list of other scholars to create a very persuasive case. A complete picture of a national and global economy must include the whole range of vital caring and caregiving activities—mostly undervalued, undercounted, and either severely underpaid or totally unpaid; and mostly performed (surprise!) by women—that take place in the community and in the home.

Eisler, a meticulous cross-disciplinary researcher, presents a good deal of cheering evidence to fortify her recommendations. What we spend to maximize the value of so-called human capital, for example (i.e., caring for and educating our children and youth), should be considered not a burdensome expense but a capital investment, insists the author; and as such, it should be amortizable over twenty years—the time frame for nurturing a generation of healthy, high-performing human beings. To back that up, she presents research outcomes showing that, e.g., early childhood educational interventions produce a 200 percent return on investment, and that actual companies that have adopted a comprehensively caring orientation to their workforce more than recoup their considerable investment in health care, exercise facilities, onsite child care, parental leave, and so forth, with better motivated employees, lower turnover and training costs, and higher productivity.

The cases cited come from enlightened regions like the Nordic nations, where social policy is light-years ahead of nearly everyone else’s; but even in the USA, where the publicly funded social safety net now consists of way more holes than netting, there are already numerous companies profiting over the long term from this kind of investment in caring and caregiving.

For about the price of a good vegan (or steak) dinner, you can order The Real Wealth of Nations in hardcover. This is one time when I wouldn't wait for the paperback edition. Your alarm will buzz again at the usual time tomorrow morning. As you open your eyes on another day of global warming, tribal and regional conflict, and general transnational chaos, it will feel wonderful to have Eisler on your team, sharing her straightforward prescription for planetary rescue: a lot more serious, high-level, long-range attention to the crucial economic role of caring and caregiving, and a thoroughly partnerist orientation, starting right now. Today.

~ The Baltimore Chronicle

Riane Eisler’s stunning new tour de force is a must-read for anyone who thinks about how to make the world a better place. The Real Wealth of Nations: Creating a Caring Economics leaves no stone unturned in analyzing why our current modes of economic thinking must give way to a caring based, partnership model of society. . . If everyone who wants to live in a more just and equitable society would read this amazing book, “caring economics” might just become a household phrase.

~ BeyondChron, San Francisco's Alternative Online Daily