Doughnut Economics, the Moral Economy and Fraud

I am very new to this subject, so apologies if I am barking up the wrong tree, however I am interested in whether there could be a relationship between the application of Doughnut Economics theory and the ethical character of economic activities, specifically fraud, perpetrated at individual and corporate level. Any suggestions or discussion would be good.

1 Like

Good to read your post - I have been reflecting on the same question. At present my thinking is that there are Humanitarian based ethical grounds for adopting the main objectives of Doughnut Economics, which I interpret to be to enable everyone to be able to achieve a life of well-being, both in current and future generations (in other words on a permanently sustainable basis). I also think that Kate Raworth’s 7 ways to think like a 21st Century Economist are a long way ahead of much current mainstream economic thinking in ethical terms.

Perhaps, though, more work is required to strengthen the rules around the application of Doughnut Economics for it to be considered to be ethically robust. For example to ensure that its objectives do not unintentionally impose an ideologically narrow form of human well-being on people, and to ensure that the knowledge base used to advance the objectives are not based on biased economic ideologies or restricted knowledge or ways of thinking. Also, obviously, the way in which it is to be advanced has to be seen to be ethical.

My own work is primarily focuses on exploring simple ideas for what might be described as Ethical Politics, without right wing, left wing or centrist prejudices and that includes consideration of ethics in political-economic decision-making. If you are interested, I use twitter as a way of briefly discussing such matters – my twitter handle is @Qolfabook (which stands for Quality of Life for All Based on Open Knowledge”. So for example if you type into the twitter search function @qolfabook #economics or @qolfabook #ethics or @qolfabook #anticorruption then you can filter out some relevant posts that I have made with links to similar posts by others.

As you explore the subject, I would be very interested to hear more about your and others viewpoints. Best wishes, Dorian

In Elk Grove, California, we have found economics is for purposes of local policy more usefully thought of as tools than ends. We have found the articulation of ethical values better suited to orienting policy as the overall context in which the strategies of doughnut economics are more easily understood and accessed. For a variety of reasons, we have found it useful in our highly diverse community to use the current interest in compassion as an orienting social value in which the “doughnut” of compassion for both people and environment can be easily articulated and make common sense. The City Council just last night adopted our community-generated Charter for Compassion that at its center articulates the “doughnut” principle, and we will soon be moving toward the “community portrait” workshop that Kate Raworth suggested as an entry activity to get the City and community focused on the most urgent and practical issues.

When I get time during the next few months, I will write up some thoughts about our experience with this to shae on thiis website. But the big take-away point is that “doughnut economics” does strongly imply certain values that can be very usefully cast as a main policy context logically served by the kinds of sustainability approaches Raworth suggests. We are in the first steps of that, and will learn and share more as we go.

1 Like

Thank you - that does sound very encouraging. I and I am sure many others would be interested to hear, in due course, about progress and lessons learnt. Best wishes, Dorian

Our ethical behavior is a microeconomics topic whilst most theories about how our social system works etc., deal with macroeconomics of the more general population. Since the doughnut approach is more macro- than micro- it would seem that the ethics of our behavior has little or no connection with the doughnut in spite of those loving and/or fruistrated answerers who would wish it into being.

David, this might be worth a conversation. While Raworth does not venture in her book to spell out the sometimes complex ethical aspects of the issues she addresses, I found that each of her book chapters raises highly significant ethical and moral (and microeconomic) issues by implication. It is just that the reader has to take the step from text to issue. I will say, however, that a number of the implications I see probably would end up challenging classical microeconomics. But then again I agree with Raworth that classical economics have never provided a very apt description of real human behavior.

Wemyers, thanks for agreeing that ethics and morals are microeconomics aspects of the doughnut way of looking at our society. The reason why “classical microeconomics has never provided a very apt description” is that it has never properly defined the parts of our society as a whole that are formally connected by trading. Consequently it seems to me that in order to properly understand how our social system works we need a more mechanical approach using a macroeconomics theory.

This is the approach that is taken in my research work, both in 2 working papers and in my book, “Consequential Macroeconomics” that explains it in more analytic detail. This book can be seen in e-copy form when you write to and I will gladly send a copy for free. It is also published in soft-cover.