Economy featured

Riane Eisler: “Partnership and Domination Systems”

March 27, 2024

(Conversation recorded on March 7th, 2024)

Show Summary

On this episode, Nate is joined by systems scientist Riane Eisler to discuss her decades of work studying ‘domination’ and ‘partnership’ societies throughout history and what it might mean to transition to more sustainable societies in the future. What we value at the individual and family level directly translates to the way we frame our governance systems – societies that emphasize empathy and caring also implement the same types of policies and values. How could we foster the more cooperative side of our humanity across all scales to create empowered communities and balanced decision making? What societies – past and present – lean towards a partnership paradigm and what benefits do their people receive? Is it possible to move away from violence and control oriented systems and into ones that value wide boundaries of empathy and understand the vital nature of care work?

About Riane Eisler

Riane Eisler is the President of the Center for Partnership Systems, which provides practical applications of her work, and Editor in Chief of the online Interdisciplinary Journal of Partnership Studies published at the University of Minnesota. Eisler’s innovative whole-systems research offers new perspectives and practical tools for constructing a less violent, more egalitarian, gender-balanced, and sustainable future. She is author of many books, including The Chalice and the Blade, now in its 57th US printing and 27 foreign editions, The Real Wealth of Nations, and Nurturing Our Humanity co-authored with Douglas P. Fry. For more information, see and

Watch on YouTube

Show Notes & Links to Learn More

00:00 – Riane Eisler works + Info,

02:59 – Systems Theory

03:22 – RAND Corporation, Systems Development Corporation

05:37 – Voyage of the Damned

06:31 – Nurturing our Humanity

07:47 – Impact of the first 5 years on the rest of life, impacts of time in the womb

08:45 – Darwin

08:50 – David Loye

09:48 – Biocultural

09:58 – Taliban, Nazi Germany, Stalin’s Soviet Union, Russian government, Iranian government

11:16 – Nazi Germany gender roles

11:38 – Russian law reducing punishment for family violence in 2017

11:57 – Correlation of strongman family and strongmen state

14:33 – Gender Studies, Child Development

15:08 – The Chalice and the Blade

17:56 – Nature vs Nurture

18:43 – Positive Feedback Loops

19:36 – Empathy and caring in evolution

20:24 – Teduray/Tiruray of the Philippines, studied by Stu A Schlegel

20:50 – Minangkabau and East Sumatra

21:32 – There’s no such thing as a matriarchy

25:06 – America First Party

25:33 – High intelligence children are more empathetic

26:19 – Collective Action

26:58 – Lizards that eat their young

27:22 – Studies of Bonobos vs Chimpanzees

28:28 – Multi-level selection, E.O. Wilson, David Sloan Wilson + TGS Podcast

31:50 – Shia and Sunni

32:40 – Nordic Societies, economy, caring policies

33:27 – The Real Wealth of Nations

36:35 – Gender equity in Nordic Countries, ~45% of Parliaments are female

38:13 – Nordic laws that prohibit physical discipline of children

43:19 – Nordic countries pioneered the first peace studies

45:10 – ACE Studies, prevalence of trauma

46:12 – Origins of capitalism and socialism

46:30 – Mercantilism, Bourgeoisie

47:31 – Marx, Smith

48:03 – A wife could not sue for injuries negligently inflicted, only her husband could

50:22 – Nordic countries invest proportionally more foreign aid than any other country

51:44 – Religious stories of Eve, Pandora, Elders of Zion

53:21 – Çatalhöyük, Ian Hodder

54:28 – Self-assessment tool

55:10 – Douglas P. Fry

57:01 – Democrats proposed Paid Family Leave but ultimately compromised

57:28 – Australia study that the care economy would constitute 50% of GDP

59:37 – Gary Barker, TED Talk

1:04:08 – Advances against child labor and other human rights

1:05:40 – Teaching pattern recognition

1:06:03 – Chaos Theory

Nate Hagens

Nate Hagens

Nate Hagens is the Director of The Institute for the Study of Energy & Our Future (ISEOF) an organization focused on educating and preparing society for the coming cultural transition. Allied with leading ecologists, energy experts, politicians and systems thinkers ISEOF assembles road-maps and off-ramps for how human societies can adapt to lower throughput lifestyles. Nate holds a Masters Degree in Finance with Honors from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. in Natural Resources from the University of Vermont. He teaches an Honors course, Reality 101, at the University of Minnesota.