The Shift has begun!

Anne-Marie Slaughter’s article in The Atlantic, The U.S. Economy Does Not Value Caregivershighlights much of what we are discussing here at Integrative Economy. As she says, The next period of American renewal cannot come fast enough. The gap between the richest and poorest Americans is growing wider. In fact, the top 10 percent took in more than half of all income in 2012, the highest share since the data series started.      Yet the United States has among the highest child poverty rates of any developed economy. We spend more but get less for our healthcare and education dollars than Canada, the United Kingdom, South Korea, and other nations. We are falling behind on these important measures of human progress in the world—but even more importantly, we are falling behind in terms of our ability to live up to our own values.   My personal vision is of a renewed America that cares—both about and for its people. This will require a shift.”  

We could not concur more! The work she’s talking about is the work found in the “core economy”* and could be made possible through the prototype business we’ve discussed here: Integrative Community Ventures. This is the real life, every day work we do in caring for our lives. It is also the work that enables the market economy to exist. It’s estimated that 40-50% of economic activity is found in the “core economy” and yet it remains outside the realm of what we call the market economy. If we could change this perception and bring the “core economy” work into the measured economy through the Local Community Capacity (LCC) work sector, then the shift could happen. The LCC would provide a visible structure by which to value and fund this work while Integrative Community Ventures could launch a new business model.

Dr. Slaughter is the President and CEO of New America. New America is dedicated to the renewal of American politics, prosperity, and purpose in the Digital Age. Their hallmarks are big ideas, pragmatic policy solutions, technological innovation, and creative engagement with broad audiences. Their existence, in its own right, signifies that the shift is beginning. We now have organizations starting to emerge to make it possible.

Through this article, several others and her new book, “Unfinished Business”, Dr. Slaughter is a helping to bring the need for a shift into the public view. Find out more about New America and support their efforts to bring forth an Integrative Economy!

* (Core Economy) As we build an Integrative Economy, it requires us to recognize the “Core Economy’s” value and impact. There is an enormous amount of work that goes on in our homes including raising children, caring for the elderly, growing gardens, managing the physical plant of our homes, preparing meals, managing our health and providing health care. The list goes on and on. Unfortunately, society does not measure it via the GDP and thus the value of this work is easily overlooked societally and economically.   However, it can be argued that this “Core Economy” (1) sets the foundation for the Market-based economy. Coined by economist Neva Goodwin, Edgar Cahn defined the term, “Core Economy” as “an economy of family, neighborhood, kith and kin” and writes “more and more economists acknowledge that something like 40-50% of productive economic activity takes place outside the market . . .” 

It is through the “Core Economy” that children learn and are guided into adulthood and enter the Market economy free of costs to employers. If we were to somehow eliminate all the work that happens in the “Core Economy,” it would quickly become apparent that the Market economy would suffer tremendously. As Alvin Toffler once said, “What would happen if your employees weren’t toilet trained?” It seems reasonable that if the Market economy is benefiting as a result of the free production done in the “Core Economy” then society should at least know what this amounts to in real dollars and cents.