What is care? Who gives it?
“The state is the main care provider”, say many Europeans. And sure, the welfare state is a major safety net in their societies.
“Business is the main care provider”, reply many Americans. They have a point too: their insurance companies, hospitals, and clinics – most of these are businesses.
And yet, that’s not the whole story.
Care models are failing: per capita health care expenditure grows faster than GDP. We need to spend an ever-greater part of our resources just to stay well.
Under pressure to get care, the edges of society (the young, the nomads and migrants, the precariat) respond by getting creative. There are many ongoing experiments, large and very small.
- A hackerspace in England provides a safe space and a sense of identity to the members, many of whom are unemployed, or disabled, or homeless.
- Hundreds of enterprising Greeks spawn a whole network of "shadow" clinics.
- Three expat adult couples in Belgium decide to live under the same roof and be each other's support network.
Along this journey, they (and we all) face deep questions about what care really is.
Is it services? Is it human attention and warmth? Is it trying to fix what's wrong with people in need of care? Is it accepting everybody for what they are, with their strengths and weaknesses?
Care is deeply human. Everyone has first hand experience of it. Even those of us who are not doctors or nurses or caregivers are occasionally patients (even doctors!); we all have first-hand experience of giving and receiving care.
We are collecting stories of care… and using our collective intelligence to make sense of them. We hope to get to a shared view of what people are doing to cope when official systems fail, and how we can help the promising solutions to become more resilient and accessible to more people . So we have started building a community where people are sharing first-hand, personal experiences and deep questions about how we are currently giving and receiving care.
In the two weeks since we got started people have been gravitating towards one another in interesting conversations. Have a look at some of the best reads here, and inspiration for you to frame your own contribution.
Reflection card graphics by Ola Moller for Edgeryders