Empathy, democracy and the economy | openDemocracy


The political system rests on an economy that concentrates wealth and power. It’s a gloomy picture, for sure, but what does it have to do with the subject of empathy?

The answer is that democracy is lost unless we re-structure our economies, and re-structuring our economies requires a new operating system based on different values. That’s what empathy provides, not in its “thin” form as a vague appreciation of peoples’ feelings, but in its “thick” form that commits everyone to foster the wellbeing of others, and do no harm…

If empathy is the ability to understand the perspectives of others and use that understanding to guide one’s actions, then it’s safe to conclude that our current economies inculcate the opposite.

What would change if the economy
was re-structured with empathy
at the center?