What if Economics began with the Body?
We arrive in the world in bodies — a commonality that we've instead used to separate, assigning hierarchies to different bodies. An economic system organized around the shared needs of bodies would be radically different.
Bodies are born, become injured, get sick, need nurturing and eventually die. Those who provide care continue to be undervalued: women's unpaid care work is estimated at $11 trillion globally, every year.
We see ourselves as separate from, as opposed to embedded within, the natural world. However, long-term species survival depends on habitat preservation and tending to nature as an extension of ourselves.
Human bodies, natural ecosystems, and the economy are all complex adaptive systems; yet,
we have mistakenly applied linear, mechanistic thinking to complex systems, yielding ineffective economic policy.
Economics does not account for power, viewing all humans as rational actors in a neutral, free market. This does not square with human experience, where power is a determinant of market participation and opportunity.
It's time to turn the 'forgotten five' — the body, care, nature, interconnectedness, and power — into the Foundational Five in our economic paradigms, policies, and practices.
Embodied Economics is a movement to re-shape economic thinking from the most foundational elements of human experience.