Caring Economics

How do we create an economy that meets everyone’s needs, but doesn’t overtax the earth? Activists and economists are developing a common vision.

First sip: What is a Care Economy?

“An economy that meets the needs of all within the means of the planet,”

says Kate Raworth, renegade economist and creator of the Doughnut of social and planetary boundaries, a different economic mindset to address the realities and challenges of the 21st century.

Lauren Hatvany adds:

“where quality of life is measured in terms of peoples’ experiences rather than the stuff they have or their achievements.”

Money literally where her mouth is, Lauren is a co-founder and managing director of Mustardseed, a collaborative vision built around the idea that everyone has the potential, the right and the responsibility to be in the driver’s seat of their own development.

How do I recognize a Care Economy if I see it?

Well, it has many facets, “from the ways in which we are cared for as human beings to the ways the economy meets our needs for meaningful work, education, health care, and creative expression,”

says Gwen Hallsmith, who travels the world helping communities build sustainable systems that  meet everyone’s needs:

“When parents have time and resources to take care of their children, when health care and education are human rights, and we have basic income for everyone, then we have an economy that cares.”

Second sip: Does such a Care Economy already exist anywhere?

 Not yet, not perfectly, but we are getting there. Finland, for instance, is currently reforming its social and healthcare systems. One of the pioneers of this movement, Marjukka Turunen, lawyer and director of Change Management, says:

“We recognize the need to care for our growing infant and elderly populations. […] We need a sustainable system that supports working men and women with basic income and social security so that they can also care for their children and parents.”

On a smaller scale, Gwen and Lauren add:

“there are projects and programs that can help the otherwise hyper-competitive economy feel more caring, like Time Banks, paid time off, worker coops, and structures that encourage sharing. And organizations like Initiatives of Change.”

A third and final sip, before dashing out the door: What should the world economy look like in fifty years?

A wish list of answers from around the world: the economy in fifty years…

“should be regenerative by design, distributive by design; working with and within the cycles of the living world, with far more equitable ownership of the sources of wealth creation,”

basic income for everyone, that provides quality housing, food, mobility and other sustenance, access to education, health care, and creative arts. People should be able to raise children, care for their families, and live a fulfilling life. “

In other words,

“more enjoyment with less consumption.”

How do we get there?

Better legislation, less bureaucracy, a change of mindset, education. But that is a discussion for another time, over another espresso.