Economics is broken. Outdated economic theories that prize economic growth above all other factors have increased inequality and led to policies that are degrading the living world on a massive scale, threatening our future. Yet these theories still hold sway in economics education and the language and thinking behind economics has moved into all aspects of life from medicine to conservation, making everything seem like a financial transaction.
Kate Raworth identifies seven critical ways in which mainstream economics has failed, and sets out a roadmap for bringing humanity to a point where we meet all our basic needs (the inner ring of the doughnut) within the means of the planet (the outer ring of the doughnut.) Currently we are out of balance on both sides of the doughnut.
The starting point of Doughnut Economics is to meet humanity's goals and to work from there. We need to stop thinking about trying to ensure an ever growing economy and find ways of ensuring we can all thrive without damaging the planetary support systems.
This is a thought provoking and fascinating critique of economics and how we have allowed ideas of the market and GDP to overly influence the way we live. Now however, it is clear that we are living beyond the natural boundaries of the earth while at the same time condemning many people to lives where their basic needs aren't being met. It's time to rethink economics and Doughnut Economics is a great place to start.
You can read more about Doughnut Economics at Kate Raworth's website.
Some thinkers don't think Kate Raworth goes far enough, this blog post from Deirdre Kent suggests some ideas that could be taken forward.
If Doughnut Economics sounds interesting to you, you may also be interested in the new pamphlet from Global Justice Now, which outlines the implications of the proposed US-UK Trade Deal. You can read Trade Secrets online here.