(Fwd) Who's Counting? Marilyn Waring on Sex,Lies a

8 Dec 1996 18:35:12 EDT

Who's Counting? Marilyn Waring on Sex, Lies and Global Economics
Based upon the book If Women Counted by Marilyn Waring. Directed
and Edited by Oscar winning filmmaker Terre Nash (for her
1983 documentary- If You Love This Planet- which starred Helen
Caldicott and helped mobilize the anti-nuclear movement in the
The most powerful tool that I've found for raising consciousness
on how the global economy functions is this brilliant, beautiful,
funny, moving documentary. Produced by the Canadian Film Board, it
has had almost no promotional budget and will only reach a wide
audience, if people who care deeply about the world, and in
particular about restructuring the economy, spread the word about
this film.
Marilyn Waring was the youngest and only woman in the New
Zealand Parliament in 1978. She took it upon herself to speak out for
those underrepresented in government- women, the indigenous people,
the rural farmers in her constituency. Her honesty and integrity
earned her much respect and placed her as chairman of the all
important National Public Accounts Committee which dispursed the
government's budget.
Her honesty, also brought down the government on the nuclear
issue. When she left office, she decided to decipher global
economics. She went to New York and examined the U.N. System of
National Accounts- the system imposed upon every nation that joins
the U.N.. She learned that it was devised by two men who had written
a pamphlet during World War II entitled "The British National
Accounts and How to Pay for the War." They were asked to expand the
system to cover the entire world in the aftermath of the war.
The system which affects policy decisions in almost every country
is highly selective and only values those transactions which go
through the marketplace. The unpaid work of women, the environment
upon which human culture depend simply did not count. Money was all
that mattered. The system acknowledged war as being the most
lucrative business of all. "It is in the economic interest of the
major powers that there is always a war going on." No value to
peace, nor justice, nor to the life-sustaining properties of
the world we live in.
Marilyn notes that economics and language are tools that are
effectively used against people who value things which defy
quantification. Value laden, subjective arguments are considered soft
and flaky compared to the "jargon and mathematical analysis" of the
so-called experts. By demonstrating the utter irrelevance of the GNP
and GDP to the lives of most people, how they "value" disasters and
fail to recognize that which humans value, Marilyn lays the
foundation for an entirely new system.

Last August the film premiered in Berkeley, California. It was
part of the Woman Make Movies Film Festival. Six hundred people came
to see it. Director Terre Nash spoke. A half a dozen grassroots
organizations dedicated to peace, justice, the environment and
transforming the global economy tabled in the lobby of the UC
Theatre. Volunteers gathered names, addresses and phone numbers of
those in the audience who wanted to help promote the film and learn
more about alternative economics. A group formed called "The Who's
Counting? Project" to develop study materials for the film and help
nurture a self organizing grassroots alternative economic movement.
In October the local radio station (KPFA-the Pacifica flagship)
offerred the video and study materials to its members as part of its
fundraising marathon. The response was extraordinary! 460 people
pledged $100. each; the station raised over $40,000. and people
proved that there was a tremendous interest in this subject.
The video can be obtained from Bullfrog Films at (800)543-3764.
The Who's Counting? Project can be reached via e-mail
loisjones@igc.apc.org or at (510)636-0473.
The film will also be shown in San Francisco at the KPFA Crafts
Fair at the Concourse Exhibition Center noon Dec. 15th, Sunday. It
will also return to the UC Theatre, in Berkeley, January 28th along
with "If you Love This Planet."
I would also like to bring out director Terre Nash in January
for the Berkeley showing and to do more publicity. It would also be
great to have another showing in the Bay Area- maybe Palo Alto or San
Jose, but I'd like some help organizing it. So please contact me if you
would like to do some real consciousness raising, networking, media
outreach, organizing, or funding to support a totally unfunded
grassroots effort.
I did P.R. before I became an activist. My passion is changing
the monetary system. I found out about the film through a friend-
Christine Burt, the publicist at the Canadian Film Board (her husband
directed the excellent film- Manufacturing Consent- Noam Chomsky and
the Media- which I also helped promote). Christine had to quit her
job at the Canadian Film Board due to health reasons. She was not
replaced. With the budget cuts, the film has had almost no publicity
in the U.S., with the exception of grassroots efforts. I've shown it
at several conferences. There is a 94 minute version and a 52 minute
Anyone interested in arranging a theatrical showing can also
contact the Canadian Film Board in New York at 212-596-1774 (John
In the San Francisco Bay Area, if you would like to get
involved- please call me or e-mail me- cbrouillet@igc.apc.org or
Carol Brouillet at 415-857-0927.