About the Ideas category


Got an idea that will help make the world a better place and progress the Doughnut Economics mission?
Please share your ideas here…

Use the following paragraphs for a longer description, or to establish category guidelines or rules:

  • Why should people use this category? What is it for?

  • How exactly is this different than the other categories we already have?

  • What should topics in this category generally contain?

  • Do we need this category? Can we merge with another category, or subcategory?


I would like to suggest for your consideration a new idea / category. The category is “problems to be overcome for the success of doughnut economics.”

Why should people use this category? What is it for?
People should use this category to point out obstacles to the adoption of the doughnut economics adoption by nations and other economic units. It is for addressing fundamental problems in a context that supports the solution of those problems.

How exactly is this different than the other categories we already have?
The other categories show how doughnut economics could help with current (and future) problems. They do not address the problem of adoption nor of whether doughnut economics is possible / practical.

What should topics in this category generally contain?
Criticism of the fundamental properties on which doughnut economics is based. It should question the assumptions of doughnut economics. It should provide ways in which doughnut economics might fail.

Do we need this category?
Without such a category one is merely day dreaming about a fantasy land. To be successful a new design in any field needs to be rigorously tested and stressed before use in production. This is obviously true in my former occupation of computer system administration in which most of one’s time is spent testing and backing up and planning how to prevent disasters. But it’s also true in all of science, in producing new products for the marketplace, and in writing (remember how important editing is?)

As my own contribution to this category I would like to offer the following idea.

How will doughnut economics overcome the nature of our physical object money? This question requires some explanation since it is not a question economists can easily consider or imagine.

Throughout history and for many thousands of years before history agricultural economies evolved commodity money in various forms. Examples include baskets of grain, pigs, salt, and blankets. In every case the money was a physical object. Once history began (writing) there came into existence the coin, a great improvement in the ease of use of money which continues to this day. The coin and the paper bill (currency) are also physical objects. With the development of the bank account we got away from actual physical objects but continued to treat the money in those accounts as if it were composed of physical objects. Now the difference between simple commodities like food, clothing, and shelter and commodity money was strictly in the human mind. So the differences between a coin and a slug is in the human mind. The difference between paper money bills and other paper rectangles is in the human mind. The difference between a computer account and other physical object monies is also in the human mind.

Since we treat all of the various forms of physical object monies as if those monies were composed of physical objects, physical object money has the properties of physical objects.

Now as to the nature of physical objects and the problems that nature presents for economies through all of history and in all nations let me point out some consequences of physical objects.

  1. Physical objects can be taken away from their owner against the will of the owner. Thus money can be taken from its owner against the will of that owner by force, fraud, loss, or destruction. We have a variety of words for taking money against the will of the owner such as theft, robbery, taxes, and loot.

  2. Physical objects are amoral. They can be used for any purpose whether good or bad. Therefore, physical object money (POM) is also amoral and can be used for immoral ends.

  3. The supply of one physical object is independent of the supply of other physical objects. Thus the supply of a POM is independent of the supply of goods and services for sale. Thus all POM economies are subject to inflation and deflation.

  4. The use of physical objects small enough to serve as money cannot be controlled. Thus the use of POM cannot be controlled. The result is that every nation has organized crime.

  5. Transactions involving the ownership of physical objects are two party transactions no matter how many people are in each party. Two party transactions are inherently unstable. If either party gets a power advantage that advantage can be used to gain still greater advantages. Thus there is a tendency for POM to become concentrated in the hands of a few. (See Piketty’s "Capital in the Twenty-FIrst Century for some last couple of hundred years examples.)

  6. Physical object money usage falsely simulates a zero-sum game. No economy is a zero-sum game. But when one participates in trade using POM one tends to notice only the money and not the goods and services flowing the other way. Nations whose balance of trade has more money coming in than going out feel they are “winning.” This false simulation makes the participants in money transactions feel like opponents, rivals, competitors, or even enemies.

So given these facts about POM, how can doughnut economics overcome this POM nature? People using POM will try to gain as much as they are able thus generating a concentration of wealth. They will want their income to always increase resulting in wanting to increase production forever of profitable goods and services. They will use illegal and immoral means of gaining POM no matter how that harms others or the planet. With no means to control POM how can you prevent these harmful uses of POM?