Riane Eisler and Nancy Folbre, Two Long-Haulers for Change


Riane Eisler's ground-breaking big-picture history, The Chalice and The Blade (1987), has influenced a whole generation of women. Fewer women have read her book, The Real Wealth of Nations (2007), the title a play on words that Adam Smith made famous in his 1776 economic tome, The Wealth of Nations. I used her economic book as part of seminar I taught at Vermont College, and just last summer was invited to present  with her at a Vermont "Womanomics" conference--and then she endorsed my book, Screwnomics!

I come from a long line of women accountants—and in my book I talk about the need to adjust our national accounting system.  Right now the GDP measures only one item: dollars. It is only an "income" statement, adding up every dollar exchanging hands. By GDP's reckoning, natural disasters are a windfall, costing Americans in insurance payouts, reconstruction, legal settlements and fines, and environmental cleanup, driving up the GDP! 

Is that a good thing? No, we need a balance sheet, that shows us more accurately our real costs and real benefits. In Screwnomics I mention GPI (Genuine Progress Indicators) now adopted by two states, Maryland and Vermont, though only Maryland updates figures annually.

I also talk about the GNH, or Gross National Happiness measurements, more serious than they sound, first adopted by Bhutan, and promoted here in the US by a movement begun by my Vermont friends Ginny Sassaman and Paula Francis.

We also should consider Riane Eisler's important new measurements, created in collaboration with Eisler's Center for Partnership Studies, and economist Nancy Folbre, who has long written about the unpaid work at the heart of any economy. Their Social Wealth Economic Indicators (SWEI, pronounced "sway") actually seek to show how respecting and strengthening our rich, social connections at home and in our communities actually RESULTS in better economic-dollar outcomes. Then even our rather stupid GDP would be able to see it.

Eisler and Folbre actually presented together in 2013 at a conference sponsored by Champlain College and UVM's Gund Institute. You can watch it here.

Such measurements of what now remains invisible—our persistent love and attention to what really matters—should be part of women's Economic#MeToo movement! Let's SWEI with national happiness! —Rickey Gard Diamond


Gross National Happiness: Ginny and Paula's Long Haul Pursuit!

happiness walk.jpg

I've been writing about Gross National Happiness for years. It's exciting to see women and men working together to challenge old measures of money-only, the GDP, to evaluate how our economy is REALLY doing. Especially inspiring to me are the women who remain so committed to the long haul.

Ginny Sassaman's kitchen in Maple Corners Vermont was the site of early organizing of GNH-USA, and Linda Wheatley became its first president. In 2010 the new organization organized the first American conference, which was attended by officials from Bhutan, where GNH originated. I served on its board a short while. But Linda, Ginny, and Paula Francis, another early GNH leader, went the second mile, and then some. They committed to a Happiness Walk across the US. They are spreading the word and engaging people in conversations about their pursuits of happiness—and have walked 5000 miles to do it!  

Here's a link to their recent interview about GNH and why it matters, with Thomas Rosenberg, host of "Envision" on

What if the nation weren't so divided in its values as we are told daily by our media? What if our community and family connections were counted in our economy? This interview introduces other accounting methods, like the Genuine Progress Indicators (GPI) and (GNH) and....

Interested? Check out Screwnomics' Chapter 13, a history of EconoMan's accounts and new, sexier accounting that just might save the world. Also see the GNH website here:

Next week, I'll post a video from another important woman leader, Riane Eisler, looking at measures of caring—and their economic results. This stuff matters! 

—Rickey Gard Diamond