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The Ideas

The kind of GDP we want

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30 April 2021

We hope that the GDP to come will be female. Let us hope that the new economy, the one that will have to replace the bankrupt and unjust current one, is going to include value and be led by women. Many people hope so. There are many who think that a new female leadership can change things. As Sister Alessandra Smerilli says in the cover article, women can introduce, “a different, more inclusive and humane economy”.

This is not just auspicious. The planet requires us to change the rules and the aims that have governed our economy up to now. The pandemic and its consequences are the latest demonstration of this. Change can only come about if new principles, new procedures and new subjects are introduced. Women for the most part have been far removed from the mechanisms of power and profit, from the ways in which the world economy has been ordered. However, and precisely because of this, they are able to invest an enormous wealth of experience, culture, and relationships.  Moreover, women can add affections, feelings, desires hitherto considered external to the field of economics, extraneous, even opposed. Instead, they appear to have the potential to lift the fortunes of many, the majority of the planet, to indicate ways out of misery, discrimination, and injustice. 

The “economic mission”, to use the words of one of the leading experts on the economics of innovation, Mariana Mazzucato, is certainly possible. There are many who are already attempting it, as the experiences of female entrepreneurs, managers and scholars that we report here in the May issue of Women, Church, World.

However, a different approach is beginning to take shape, which involves putting the person at the forefront and paying attention to the environment. In this approach the central role of the market is being downgraded, value to the common good is being given, and the rules of the economy are being rethought. This care and innovation can coexist, and the state and the market can find a different balance. Wealth production and its fairer distribution are certainly possible, and we just need to change our point of view by integrating women's perspectives in a real reciprocity of views and perspectives. Promote new leaderships. Propose new solutions. This is not easy, but female economists and managers are trying. This month, the Pope invites us to pray, “That those responsible for finance will work with governments to regulate the financial sphere and protect citizens from its dangers”.

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Women Church World has reached its 100th issue. It first came out with L’Osservatore Romano, May 31, 2012, coordinated by Ritanna Armeni and Lucetta Scaraffia. [DCM].