April 29, 2016

The Love Economy

Some work depends on money. Without cash it won't happen. Then there is a whole bunch of other work that is marked exactly because it does not depend on money. It depends on love.

Since love can't be quantified, in a money equivalent, all that caring work is worth something like 1 trillion dollars a year to the UK economy alone. Imagine what it would be globally. Many trillions of dollars worth.

All the non-money stuff falls under the category of "unpaid economy", although some more accurately call it the "love economy". It is just as big as the paid economy in number of hours worked, and without the support of this love economy the paid one would not exist.

The "real" economy is commonly understood to be the one in which cash is king. I think we have got it backwards.

The unpaid economy includes situation like volunteerism, caregiving, childcare, housekeeping and so many other wonderful activities. Our homes and communities are the foundation upon which every thing else is built. This is the real economy.

In the field of economics this area is vastly understudied, perhaps because the capitalist system can't figure out why anyone would do anything for free. It is hard to fit compassion into the formulas and spread sheets.

As a result, any activity that doesn't involve the exchange of money has been largely ignored and undervalued. People tend not to be attracted to the things that our culture undervalues. Therefore, we look for our success in the paid economy, and many miss out on the opportunities for meaningful unpaid work at home and in the community.

This is what is at the core of simple living for me - being able to enjoy the satisfying, essential work that takes place outside of the money world. When we do things out of love, rather than the love of money, magical things happen.

Yes, the money economy is important at this stage of human evolution. But it will never be as important as the love economy. Together with Mother Nature, love is what keeps things going on this planet.

We can live without money. You can't say the same for love.

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