Tikkun Winter 2019 (34.1) - Page 43

THE PARTNERSHIP-DOMINATION SOCIAL SCALE Like domination-oriented societies, cultures orienting to the partnership end of the part- nership-domination continuum (it is always a matter of degree) also transcend conventional categories such as religious/secular, Eastern/ Western, industrial/ pre-industrial/post- industrial. Contemporary examples are the tribal Teduray of the Philippines, the agrarian Minangkabau of Sumatra, and technologically advanced Western cultures such as Sweden, Norway, Finland, and other Nordic nations. 4 These are not ideal societies. But both fami- lies and the state are democratic, women have higher status, and “feminine” nurturance and nonviolence are considered appropriate for men as well as women—and are socially sup- ported. The strong statistical correlation between the status of women and a nation’s general qual- ity of life empirically shows that partnership- oriented societies are better for both men and women. 5 This is not only because women are half the population, but because when the status of women is low, traits and activities stereotypically associated with women such as caring, caregiving, and nonviolence are less valued than those stereotypically associated with men. So less money goes into supporting the activities that make for a high quality of life for everyone, and more money goes into those stereotypically associated with men, including manufacturing weapons and fighting wars. 6 This gendered valuation system is reflected in both capitalism and socialism: neither Adam Smith nor Karl Marx included as “productive” the work of caring for people, starting in child- hood. So childcare workers are paid less than dog-walkers. And when caregiving is per- formed outside the labor market, whether by VOL. 34, NO. 1 “ The strong statistical correlation between the status of women and a nation’s general quality of life empirically shows that partnership- oriented societies are better for both men and women. ” men or women, it is not even counted in mea- sures of productivity such as Gross Domestic Product (GDP)—which instead includes mak- ing and selling cigarettes and weapons, activi- ties that destroy rather than nurture life. And this, despite studies showing that, if included, the work of caregiving in families would con- stitute between 30 to 50 percent of reported GDP! 7 Nordic nations do not have immense gaps between haves and have-nots, or the huge child poverty rates of the United States. Interna- tional surveys show that these are the happiest nations in the world, largely because people’s material and emotional needs are met by car- ing policies such as generous paid parental leave, high quality childcare, and elder care with dignity. The reason these nations heavily invest in car- ing for their people is not that they are well-to- do. Many more prosperous nations fail to in- vest in their people. Moreover, as Hilkka Pietila and others have documented, the Nordic “car- ing society” was not the consequence of greater prosperity. It was the other way around. 8 Another claim is that these societies are more caring because they are more homogenous. But homogenous societies such as Saudi Arabia have huge economic disparities, as well as des- potic governments and brutal institutionalized violence, such as public beheadings. © 2019 TIKKUN MAGAZINE 43