Doughnut Economics: Paradigm Shift for 21st Century

“We are the first generation to properly understand the damage we have been doing to our planetary household, and probably the last generation with the chance to do something transformative about it. And we know full well, as an international community, that we have the technology, know how and financial means to end extreme poverty in all its forms should we collectively choose to make that happen – Doughnut Economics”

The Doughnut of social and planetary boundaries (2017)


Image of doughnut economics diagram


The ‘doughnut’ in doughnut economics explained

“The twenty first century task is clear: to create economics that create human prosperity in a flourishing web of life so that we can thrive in balance in the doughnuts safe and just space. It starts with recognising that every economy – local or global – is embedded within society and within the living world. It also means recognising that the families and communities, all that we share in common such as the natural world, the private sector and the state can all be effective means of providing for our many needs and wants, and that they tend to work best when they work together. By deepening our understanding of human nature we can create institutions and incentives that reinforce social reciprocity and altruistic values, rather than undermine them. Once we accept the economies inherent complexity we can shape its ever evolving dynamics through smart stewardship. That opens up the possibility of turning today’s divisive and degenerative economies into ones that are distributive and regenerative by design. And it invites us to become indifferent about growth, creating economies that enable us to thrive, whether or not they are growing.”

“Humanity’s 21st century challenge is to meet the needs of all within the means of the planet. In other words, to ensure that no one falls short on life’s essentials (from food and housing to healthcare and political voice), while ensuring that collectively we do not overshoot our pressure on Earth’s life-supporting systems, on which we fundamentally depend – such as a stable climate, fertile soils, and a protective ozone layer. The Doughnut of social and planetary boundaries is a playfully serious approach to framing that challenge, and it acts as a compass for human progress this century.”

“The environmental ceiling consists of nine planetary boundaries, as set out by Rockstrom et al, beyond which lie unacceptable environmental degradation and potential tipping points in Earth systems. The twelve dimensions of the social foundation are derived from internationally agreed minimum social standards, as identified by the world’s governments in the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015. Between social and planetary boundaries lies an environmentally safe and socially just space in which humanity can thrive”

Kate Raworth