Author(s): Marilyn Waring
Safe drinking water counts for nothing. A pollution-free environment counts for nothing. Even some people - namely women - count for nothing. This is the case, at least, according to the United Nations System of National Accounts. Author Marilyn Waring, former New Zealand M.P., now professor, development consultant, writer, and goat farmer, isolates the gender bias that exists in the current system of calculating national wealth.
As Waring observes, in this accounting system women are considered 'non-producers' and as such they cannot expect to gain from the distribution of benefits that flow from production. Issues like nuclear warfare, environmental conservation, and poverty are likewise excluded from the calculation of value in traditional economic theory. As a result, public policy, determined by these same accounting processes, inevitably overlooks the importance of the environment and half the world's population.
Counting for Nothing, originally published in 1988, is a classic feminist analysis of women's place in the world economy brought up to date in this reprinted edition, including a sizeable new introduction by the author. In her new introduction, the author updates information and examples and revisits the original chapters with appropriate commentary. In an accessible and often humorous manner, Waring offers an explanation of the current economic systems of accounting and thoroughly outlines ways to ensure that the significance of the environment and the labour contributions of women receive the recognition they deserve.