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New Member, Falcon Group: Language and Numbers

For my initial project, I wondered if there might be a way to get National Public Radio’s Marketplace to pay attention to the partnership/caring economy.  Before contacting them, I decided to listen carefully to get a sample of what they actually cover.  So I listened and listed the topics during one week—Monday through Friday, 30 minutes per day.

I then reviewed those 51 topics and noted which of Riane’s aspects of the economy they reported on.

          The Market—29 topics;  




          Caring (home or volunteer—1.

Next, I then categorized the same topics according to Riane’s continuum of economic systems. They divided as follows. 

         Domination—25. (Examples included the daily stock market numbers, company takeovers, etc.)

         Partnership/caring—16. (Help for hurricane victims, education funding, etc.) 

         Neutral—10. (Such as who might be the next chairperson of the Federal Reserve.)

Looking over my notes, I was startled to see that most (10 of 16) of the stories regarding Partnership/Caring were actually about inadequacies—such as insufficient help after the hurricane in Puerto Rico, shortage of college funds in Pennsylvania, and that the Social Security cost-of-living increase would not match actual cost-of-living increases for a number of seniors.

 Given the general upbeat pace, sound, and tone of the program, I was startled by the number of discouraging reports regarding Partnership/Caring.  I think part of the disconnect, is that the hard numbers in the stock market are currently going up and up, while the more nebulous stories regarding Partnership/Caring can get a brushed aside because they lack hard numbers.

I’m still pondering how to raise all of this with Marketplace.  One possible approach is to encourage them to use Riane’s language regarding economics.  For example, suggest they identify stories about the caring economy with that term.  Another approach would be to encourage them to report regularly on they Caring Economy’s “Social Wealth Economic Indicators.”  They might more readily do this if they had a list of the indicators, their sources, and when the numbers are updated.  Several people have rightly advised me that Marketplace would be more receptive if they heard from a number of us, rather than just one individual.  So my current plan is to do some more thinking and planning.  Once I have the material ready, I’ll invite all of you to join me in contacting Marketplace.  Maybe we could even get them to interview Riane.   

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