Marilyn Waring was a member of the New Zealand Parliament (MP) from 1975 to 1984. In watching the documentary about her, Who's Counting? Sex, Lies, and the Global Economy, I found the statistics, and the way that they were presented, to be most striking. Here are some of the more remarkable ones:
The amount of money spent on global armaments in just two weeks could provide safe water for the whole world;
Every minute, 30 children die from want of food and inexpensive vaccines;
For every 100,000 people in the world, there are 556 soldiers, but only 85 doctors;
Every minute, the world's military budget absorbs $1.3 million dollars of the public treasure;
The US devotes over $200 billion a year to military defense, yet 45% of Americans are afraid to go out alone at night within one mile of their homes;
For every soldier, the average world military expenditure is $22,000 per year. for every school age child, the average public education expenditure is $380;
The cost of a single new nuclear submarine equals the annual education budget of 23 developing countries, with 160 million school age children.
Described as a feminist economist, Marilyn Waring works to bust up what she calls, "the exclusive elite," and shows us how to demystify the language of economics by defining it as a value system in which all goods and activities are related only to their monetary value. As a result, unpaid work (usually performed by women) is unrecognized while activities that may be environmentally and socially detrimental are deemed productive. Waring maps out an alternative vision based on the idea of time as the new currency. (Paraphrased from the film description.)
In watching the film, I was reminded of Riane Eisler's focus on Caring Economy. I heard her speak when she visited Naropa in April, 2012. Author of a number of outstanding books, she is an attorney and a social scientist at UCLA. She believes in the investment in nature and women as economic policy. She stated in her talk that it's time to leave behind capitalism vs socialism, and suggested taking the best from both, leaving the domination system of economics behind. Like her classic, The Chalice and the Blade, The Real Wealth of Nations - Creating a Caring Economics, is a bold and insightful look at how to create a world in which everyone can achieve the full measure of their humanity. She raises the same questions investigated by Marilyn Waring: What produces value? What do we value? Why is money and money-making enterprise more important or valuable than caring for people? These are important questions, and as more and more women enter all levels of policy-making in our societies, we will shift from the competitive, destructive focus on profit over people that we all suffer under, to placing value on the contributions of women in both the work world and the home.