Civilizing the Economy A New Economics of Provision

Human Nature: Mothers with baby girls

Posted Jul 18, 2011 by Marvin Brown in Uncategorized, No Comments

Today in my Ethics class, I presented college students with the following:  There are 10 young women with 2 ½ year old girls and they belong to two groups.  These two groups are quite different and one day they encounter each other for the first time.  I then asked the class to write a description of what they think would happen. 

Without an exception all 20 students—from multiple countries and ethnic backgrounds, as well as male and female—said very similar things: the women would engage with each other, share their experiences of mothering, and watch their children play together.  The “other” in other words, was not the enemy, the competitor, the aggressor, or any of the other images that dominate many conversations about human nature.

Some time ago, Virginia Held suggested that we take the image of the mother and child as our image of humanity.  It will be a great day when we follow her advice.

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Marvin T. Brown, Ph.D teaches business and organizational ethics at the University of San Francisco and Saybrook University in San Francisco.

This book is the culmination of 30 years of teaching and writing on business and society from a communicative perspective. Visit for more information.

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