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What if women ran the world?

Male hubris has made a mess. We need more female qualities.

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It is getting harder to escape the sense that most of the trouble in the world – whether it's coming out of the Senate, a mortgage lender, or a tank turret – can be traced to one overriding problem: too many men steering. Had our economic, domestic, and foreign policy been more informed by women, we might be enjoying a safer ride.

Doubt it? Here's a test. Would any of the women you admire have set up a healthcare system as byzantine, costly, and underperforming as America's? Or a financial system where mortgage lenders don't have to care about being paid back? Or a bailout that spends $1 trillion in public money to subsidize the purchase of junk debt from the same geniuses that generated it?

It may be time for guys to hand over the keys, ask for directions, and sit (quietly, please) in the back seat for a while.

Forget gender politics; just look at results. Our computer-based fantasy financial instruments have erased perhaps 45 percent of the world's wealth. We've waged two wars at the same time for six years at a fully loaded cost in the trillions. And we've managed the simultaneous implosion of what amounts to most of the male industrial complex, from banks to newspapers to automakers.

Women's effectiveness as decisionmakers is well documented, even if it isn't entirely accepted by either gender.

An MIT study of female leaders running village councils in India found that by objective measures (building better wells, taking fewer bribes) women ran their villages better. American women are about to eclipse men in sheer payroll numbers – and they're now majority owners of nearly half of the private companies in the country. Yet somehow the average working woman still devotes much more time to child care and housework.

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