Working Paper

Caring Economics

Download paper

Caring Economics is about a new way of thinking about human prosperity. In mainstream economics, prosperity is a matter of consumption, income and wealth. By contrast, Caring Economics conceives of prosperity in terms of deeper sources of durable human wellbeing.

From this perspective, people are prosperous when life is going well for them. This sense of prosperity is not restricted primarily to the gratification of individualistic material needs and wants. Beyond that, it has an interpersonal dimension. It arises from affiliative and compassionate personal relationships, a sense of social belonging, cooperative contributions to the workplace and society, and creating trustworthiness and trust. It comes to the fore when we seek to promote the happiness and relieve the suffering of others. This deep sense of fulfillment often emerges when we use our greatest abilities in the service of others.

This sense of prosperity is overlooked by mainstream economics, since it focuses on the maximization of individuals’ utility, which is assumed to depend primarily on goods and services. This conception makes no contact with our hopes to end poverty, overcome injustice and create a peaceful, harmonious world.