Alliance For a Caring Economy

Washington, D.C. Social Wealth Meeting of Experts

Twenty leading experts on the economy met on May 22-23, 2012 in Washington D.C. at a meeting co-sponsored by the Center for Partnership Studies (CPS) and the Urban Institute to pave the way for the development of Social Wealth Indicators and explore their inclusion in the new Key National Indicators System authorized by Congress and in other national accounts.

The meeting was designed to advance the goals of the Caring Economy Campaign (CEC), since Social Wealth Indicators fill a major gap in GDP (Gross Domestic Product) and other current economic measures. Social Wealth Indicators focus attention on what is needed for the development of every individual’s capacities throughout the life span as a requisite for national economic success and human well-being, especially in the post-industrial, knowledge/service age.

Among experts at the workshop were economists Randy Albelda and Nancy Folbre, Professors of Economics, University of Massachusetts and authorities on the value of care work in both the paid and unpaid sectors; Steve Landefeld, Director, and Matthew Osborne, Bureau of Economic Analysis, U.S. Department of Commerce; W. Steven Barnett, Co-Director, National Institute for Early Education Research, Rutgers University; Joe Cordes, Professor of Economics and Public Policy, George Washington University (who facilitated the meeting); Elizabeth Boris and Erwin de Leon, Director and Research Associate, Center for Nonprofits and Philanthropy, Urban Institute (who co-hosted the meeting); Riane Eisler, CPS President, and Kimberly Otis, Director of the Caring Economy Campaign; Tom Kingsley and Olivia Golden, Senior and Institute Fellows, Urban Institute; Lew Daly, Sustainable Progress Initiative and Senior Fellow, Demos; Rania Antonopoulos and Ajit Zacharias, senior scholars from the Levy Institute at Bard College; Sara Melendez, Partner, Savage/Melendez & Associates; Carlos E. Santiago, Chief Executive Officer, Hispanic College Fund; Jeffrey Hayes from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, and a representative from the U.S. State Department.

The Social Wealth meeting built on the recommendations of the 2010 Urban Institute’s report commissioned by CPS, The State of Society: Measuring Economic Success and Human Well-Being, which surveyed nearly 30 alternatives/supplements to GDP. It showed that even these new indictor systems overlook the value of caregiving and the contributions of women, gloss over time use in households, and pay scant attention to early childhood education, life-long education, and the contributions of marginalized populations, as well as their links to individual, social, and economic development.

Focal points of the meeting were the value of care work, with special attention to gender and communities of color, and the benefits of high quality early childhood education, with a consensus on the need for a clearinghouse and as well as steps for the further development of Social Wealth Indicators. The results of the workshop will be released in a report this fall.