The Real Wealth of Nations is the most fundamental critique of macro and micro economics that I have ever seen. Everyone should take these points seriously.
Her bedrock critique is that economics is harmfully selective in what it chooses to measure and consider. That's like stopping mathematics with the numbers 1 though 5 and ignoring the other numbers.
Macro economics does this by paying scant, if any, attention to production and services that don't generate an exchange of money (such as raising your own children) but have an economic impact (by producing a more or less productive member of society who generates fewer or more benefits for others) or aren't in the legal economy (drug dealing) which certainly affect the "legal" economy.
Micro economics does this by encouraging decision makers to look too narrowly at close-in effects (such as company near-term profits) rather than the ripple and secondary effects (such as the benefit or harm that customers, partners, employees, the environment, and society experience which also have measurable costs and benefits). Most of those who apply micro economics would have no clue for how to consider those other dimensions.
What you don't measure will be treated like it doesn't matter. That's the rub. We are all bound up in a tradition stall that says that much of what creates a good society doesn't require such focus. But if we did focus, we would do better. I agree.
So how do we get past this? Reading The Real Wealth of Nations is a good start. You can't see all of your social conditioning until someone shows you what's missing from the paradigm. Ms. Eisler cites a lot of studies by others to get you thinking. That's good. She describes the book as a call for discussion, and I'm sure the book will succeed in that dimension. I was pleased to see that she rarely misstepped in choosing, citing, and describing the meaning of studies that I know about.
Ultimately, she sees a change in psychology as being the key to the paradigm shift: Start talking about and thinking about caring for and about others, and you'll stop being too narrowly focused. That point is a much broader one than simply critiquing economics.
In fact, I feel like what's needed is a science of improvement that's much broader than mere economics. Enough people enjoy making improvements for their own joy of succeeding that they will drive forward a lot of the changes that Ms. Eisler is concerned about creating. Others enjoy seeing benefits being created for others, and they will make progress for that reason. Still others will simply mimic what others have done to improve. If everyone learned how to make exponential improvements, most of the problems Ms. Eisler describes would soon be gone. In fact, if each person who knows how to make exponential improvements simply showed one other person how to do this each month, the whole world would know what to do within three years. I think that's a more practical solution that what Ms. Eisler proposes. If a caring attitude is added to that aptitude, great things will surely follow. That's been my experience in seeing people around the world create vast improvements in humanitarian performance through imagining, developing, and applying 2,000 percent solutions.
Bravo, Ms. Eisler!
Eisler looks at economic life with a view that is long as history, wide as the planet, and hopeful as any mother. For her, care has always made the world go round, and it always will. I think she shows we have made a huge mistake. We have treated caring as a cost rather than a fruitful investment -- in relation to children, communities, businesses, health or our environment. But with all the force of a world-class scholar, Eisler demonstrates in field after field how "caring pays". Her practical vision of an economy based on care for human potential and environmental health could transform our whole sense of what realistic living is.
--author of The Gardens of Their Dreams and Correcting Jesus