A doughnut economics documentary?


A documentary about Doughnut Economic?
We are more visual people and in this time of speed, it is not as easy as before for people to read books but it could be a help for spreading the message to have a documentary or a short documentary.
We are not Adam Curtis with the BBC behind for selecting images but a low-cost documentary with some interviews and the animations already created could be an adequate idea.
This is a short documentary that could fit in this idea
Any ideas?


Perhaps sustainable agriculture to counter industrial food production. Many small to medium sized firms are doing aquaculture, permaculture, etc. for local community needs. It could be one part of the mosaic of solutions perhaps.


Doughnut Economics, or more fundamentally, sustainable economics needs to attract mass appeal, right?
Well, two things, firstly in order to do so, Doughnut should be conscious that it is not about changing everything in everyone’s lives. That it is not about the end of consumerism, but an end to wasteful consumerism. That is, I need a new smartphone, what happens to my old one? Or can I repair my phone instead of buying a new one?
How can this mindset be ignited? Crude tax policies can help, increasing VAT in return for reducing income tax - opening markets for concentrated labour on repairs, renewals, reignitions.
Totally insufficient and inadequate, but perhaps an initial step in the right direction, perhaps opening the mindset to alternatives from the perpetual debt based easy credit consumer society.

Secondly, as your film rightly states, there is now a mass of literature and commentary offering alternative ways of sustainable living - but it is not necessarily accessible to mass appeal. So how do you change that?
Well, the traditional methods of consumerism can help here, celebrities! This is not an aloof academic agenda, it effects everyone and celebrities have a way of attracting mass appeal - think Live Aid.

Not only that, corporate monoliths like Sky promoting campaigns for rainforests or plastics removal in oceans should be embraced and used as examples of how corporate society can engage and in fact do a lot more.

These are just somewhat initial thoughts after watching your video above.



In the Netherlands we have documentary-program ‘Tegenlicht’ made by VPRO.
A few months ago they made this 45 min docu about the Doughnut Economy.
Perhaps someone can translate it.

Greetz Michel


Thank you very much Mich01

I watched the whole documentary although the part which was in Dutch I couldn’t understand but the pictures showed the context. It’s great to have such as documentary. I would translate into Spanish if it were in English but the question is the copyright of the video. What do you think?

Regarding of the content and the frame of the documentary I have a lot of questions, insights, doubts and so on. It would be for a long debate.

Things I like very much about the documentary (Insights). Kate has a great experience about the frames and she was very quick to reframe the questions and put some metaphors for understanding. I could frame it with the DSRP model (Distinction, Systems, Relationships and Perspectives) for example:
Distinction: Body system us planet system. Human-made us Nature
Relationships: the relationships buying something in China? The whole systems or the relationships in the circular economy. The Network.
Perspectives: Her doughnut economy model, she reframes every question into the model because that’s her work and the glasses she wears for changing the present paradigm.
Systems: Always there is a system behind, so she makes a bigger picture about any question the journalists say.

My doubts. I have a bias about economics. My perspective is closer to Mallmann and Max-Neef so the endogenous part is more important that the exogenous part and the local component of the solutions. The approach in the documentary is more Western centric. This is normal because is a Dutch program. Also, the technology solution was around it (a more exogenous component), although Kate was reframing about laws, norms for changing the mind view or the values. It’s a kind of Pareto 80/20. The power of 20% of population, Western culture (mas media spreading this view) us the other (Distinction) cultures around the World.

My questions come around the approach, more negative or more positive? What would be a good balance? If you have watched the French documentary (Demain) (Tomorrow) the approach is more positive, although they talk about the bad things. However, this documentary is more defensive. It starts with the bad things and then it starts to talk mainly about the circular economy as the solution. As Meta_capitalism says there are more solutions, for example, the Perspective of food solution (permaculture, local communities). And there are more perspectives to show the doughnut economy. For example, I framed the Wellbeing approach in 10 categories or nodes of a network for Wellbeing (Health, Personal Development, Work, Family, Community, Economics, Food, Environment, Education and Ethics). All of them show a bigger picture, so in my opinion to frame the doughtnut in a documentary should be done around more perspectives as possible.
Anyway, one of my main question about effective communication is what is the best approach to show to people? More negative? More positive? Or just like the Monopoly, play both Distinctions?


That’s the million-dollar question? How to communicate or spread the message for being more effective in changing the worldview? I have some doubts about the use of celebrities or maybe the question is to choose the right celebrity? Look for example this piece of news about One direction and Climate Change.

Regarding the video I showed, my intention was only to show a short video, a similar message and a low-cost budget for a video. Not just this video like the best example. I mean if we start from zero and not have images around the planet to show the context with real pictures (more budget), maybe the interviews could be a good approach. Just showing the video below from the Dutch TV, it was an interview to Raworth and probably the frame was done by the Dutch TV. I don’t know if Raworth would have chosen another frame or the same questions in that documentary in case she was the scriptwriter for it. And plus, what would be the best approach for communicating. Interviews with more people not only Raworth? Celebrities? But who? More positive approach about things that we have already done around the World or the bad things or better both of them but in what ratio?

There are good resources about communicating in Common Cause Foundation (Values and frames)


So how do you change paradigms? Thomas Kuhn, who wrote the seminal book about the great paradigm shifts of science,7 has a lot to say about that. In a nutshell, you keep pointing at the anomalies and failures in the old paradigm, you keep coming yourself, and loudly and with assurance from the new one, you insert people with the new paradigm in places of public visibility and power. You don’t waste time with reactionaries; rather you work with active change agents and with the vast middle ground of people who are open-minded.

Systems folks would say you change paradigms by modeling a system, which takes you outside the system and forces you to see it whole. We say that because our own paradigms have been changed that way.

From: http://donellameadows.org/archives/leverage-points-places-to-intervene-in-a-system/


That’s a great question! Another million-dollar question! I understand the question of changing the paradigm or the worldview and how Meadows ordered the twelve places where one can intervene in dynamical systems to increase the grade of effectiveness and to transform them. Specifically, the leverage points which are more effective, but also due to its greater complexity they require more difficulty and time. In my thesis I chose to transcend paradigms, the most complex and more difficult place. Here, I found no one perfect recipe and Thomas Kuhn’s points is a good start. However, because I framed my work in the triad (explorer-map-compass) I had to choose some points for starting. The explorer was Mallmann and Max-neef’s needs models. The map was the AQAL model in 4 quadrants from Wilber that I changed a little bit and could be also the appearance of E. F Schumacher´s 4 worlds of knowledge. Finally, the compass was the Spiral Dynamics. So, because there is a dependence of the path chosen, in this case the compass and its function of guiding, I would say, in this context of changing the paradigm, that the work of Graves, Beck & Cowan could be a good start. It’s a quite long to summarise but they say that there are six important conditions for an emergent change:

  1. Potential: Not all people in front of change of life conditions have the mindset to change. They find three attitudes
    Open: the healthiest for the adjustment
    Arrested: caught by the barriers of the situation or by himself and can only be changed if the barriers are overcome
    Closed: blocked by biopsychosocial capacities.
  2. Solutions to the problems of the present level must be managed
    3 Dissonances must exist, either in life conditions (more pollution, increase of stress, etc.) or introduced by councelors, mentors or parents.
    4 Insight of the potential causes and the viable alternative
    5 Saving the barriers, that may be external, because of the circumstances of the people, or may be internal, mental or by fear
    6 Consolidation and support during change and its transition.

Here: more explanations of the six conditions needed for change
Also:eight variations of change and
the ritual structure of change.


Thank you! I love your inclusion of E. F Schumacher - his Guide for the Perplexed is one of my favourite books. Your thesis looks fascinating, but I have to say it seems a bit hard-going (complicated). I will have a more detailed look soon. The very fact that you are thinking in this area (and still thinking 6 year later!) is heartening!

While reading Meadows I thought of a metaphor for paradigms and paradigm change as a series of inflated balloons, each representing a paradigm or worldview and each inside the other with actual real, physical reality at the center. Each paradigm encompasses the ones inside it. Like this:

As we outgrow a paradigm the difference between the paradigm and reality widens, putting pressure for change on the paradigm. At first, just a few individuals experience the new paradigm - as if poking their heads through the membrane into the new balloon. But they must still return to the old paradigm in order to live and exist in the world of others.

These explorers might even see each other within the new paradigm - sort of as some of us may be doing right here on this forum. But we can do little but wave to each other, as underneath our lives and the people in them remain firmly entrenched in the old paradigm.

But as the pressure builds and more and more people poke their heads through into the new paradigm, eventually there are enough of them close enough to each other to support each other and thus exist permanently within (and thus act from) the new paradigm. Like a hole in a balloon, pressure is released through them as more and more join quickly until eventually the old paradigm is a shrunken, withered balloon and almost everybody exists wholly within the new paradigm.

It’s just a metaphor, an analogy and a cartoon of what may or may not be happening. The important thing, of course, is whether it’s useful! One of these days I might write it up!

Anyway, thank you for the reading list. Regards, Graham

P.S. Just scanned your thesis and noticed that you could think of the above analogy as an expansion of Wilber (2000) - although I’m more interested in and focused on what happens at the membrane between one paradigm and another.


Graham , a very good question, but I think it’s more common that they change you. At least, that’s been my experience - and in particular, that I never saw see them coming. Certainly, I’ve never found myself wondering “well now, which paradigm will I change this month?”
It’s generally the case we don’t see our own governing paradigms clearly enough to appreciate how much we’re running / being run by them.
Getting “outside” our systems is one route to knowing more what we don’t know - playing on both sides of “the membrane between …”.
I’ve found games very effective, but not found easy ways to get people playing the ones that matter. And how does one make a game work in the context of a documentary?


Hi Michael. Thanks for responding! I’ve replied to your comment on the other thread (on the US-China trade war!). However I used a naughty word (donkey/horse hybrid meaning rear end!) and so my post has been consigned to ‘pending’. I’m sure it will be released in due course! :slight_smile:

Best wishes, Graham



The celebrity idea, I agree was somewhat crude.

Rather than Ant & Dec giving freebies of Doughnut Economics on Saturday night, I was thinking more of pricking the conscience of the leaders of various sectors, including popular culture.

In my generation there was any number of issues and campaigns, from famine to nuclear disarmament, rainforests to dolphins, ozone to apartheid. Anyone of U2, Geldof, Sting, REM, David Byrne, Peter Gabriel…etc, etc could be associated with promoting the cause.

What Doughnut does imo, is encapsulate all those issues into one circular flow.

So to prick the conscience of leaders of all sectors, from industry to politics, to art and culture, to the point that Doughnut starts to emerge in the mainstream, is to encapsulate all the issues listed above and all others into one inter-connected stream.