THIS is the time for Renegade Economics!

I’ve just discovered Kate’s work, but have been thinking along very similar lines for some time. Here’s why I think Donut Economics should be shouted about right now:

This moment is a time for solidarity as humanity as we cooperate to subdue the threat of viral contagion. The virus spreads through economies at every scale as it spreads through the levels of our communities, from the top to the very bottom. At the moment, the entire global economy is exposed at every scale because we are in a massive social distancing effort that crosses political lines, operating on a community scale, but throughout the entire world. Businesses and households everywhere feel it. No-one is immune. No person and no economic entity.

And, while our vulnerabilities are exposed, we can see the places where the current system is brittle. An economy that cannot sustain two weeks of slower consumption while people protect their lives and the lives of others is not a healthy one. A community that demands people work while they are sick is not a healthy one, and an economy that demands the same spreads viruses. Literally.

The economy is slowing to a grinding halt because the movement of money is slowing down for a moment. It will move again when the physical virus is subdued, but the economic virus will have already killed off many small business, individuals who do not receive a paycheck will default on loans and mortgages. Retirees living on fixed income may have it the hardest if they were heavily exposed to the stock or bond markets. People relying on public or community support may be isolated or abandoned by caregivers or their government. The casualties from the economic virus may surpass those of the physical disease depending on the magnitude of the multiplier effects that ripple through our local economies in the coming months and years.

This is serious. The solid ground of reliable growth into the foreseeable future has been broken apart and turned over. This is a time when we have an opportunity to introduce better ideas into the system before we rebuild it back just as it was. This is a time to learn from our best minds and take the best of what we’ve learned since the last reconstruction began. What do we know now that we didn’t know then? What ideas have emerged since 2008, for example, that have some real promise of making our economies less brittle, and less susceptible to disease?

We have Doughnut Economics, and to my mind THIS is the time to talk with policymakers and civic leaders about ways to incorporate smarter measures of economic health into our public discourse and accounting practices. I tell my friends I believe in practicing ‘subversive economics’ because I think that the smartest thing we can do to change our world from top to bottom and from the inside out, is to change the equations we use to measure success. GDP is wrong-headed, but it’s what people know, and understand.

I’m surprised there isn’t more chatter on here this month, TBH.

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I agree with the sentiment wholeheartedly. At our state caucus a few weeks ago I spoke up and l told people about doughnut economics and asked that they look into it. At least a few people took notes. Being from the USA I had to spell doughnuts for them.

I would like to share your post here on Facebook. Let me know if that is OK.

Go for it! I’m glad to know someone read it :slight_smile:

Very important point & important post, thank you Sarah @finance_therapy
I sense folk are a little shell shocked and dont know how to respond, but I agree with you.
The question is how to get this message heard now , "amidst the noise and the haste".
This viral event of 2020 will clearly be a gamechanger for societies, but my sense is we need to seize the initiative by acting/mobilising from the bottom up… see this thread

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Hi Sarah,

  Interesting.  Regarding your last paragraph, part of the answer

is to not keep the topic in Economics just because that us where
it emerged from. Key concepts, and chapters of the book, fit other
policy areas more easily than being cooped up in kind of academic
discussion between economists. We have found it possible to raise
some of the doughnut economics ideas in much more general city
policy, where they receive attention from top council and staff
policy people. We managed, for example, a City resolution
committing it to meeting human needs in ways that are
environmentally sustainable, which principle we took directly from
the book. Now we are working on others, which also can be elevated
into general policy principles. For example, through a policy for
compassion tied into the movement around the International Charter
for Compassion we have been able to get the tranformative views of
human society Raworth describes in Chapter 3 to front and center
and into recognition and adoption in our city and community. Such
a process takes time, of course, and one has to disaggregate and
rephrase some of the material to fit the situation, but from where
I sit it seems a fairly likely way to get the basic ideas into
official action. In sum, the basic Doughnut Economics insights are
to fundamental to leave in economics. You pick up on them
elsewhere.

Bill

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Tony,

    Just to repeat, I think that getting the message

out from the bottom up means working with Cities and perhaps
other forms of local government. They have the most decisions
space, are the most accessible, and touch most on practical
matters. National politics on these kinds of matters are a bad
bet until one has local presence and a constituency.

Bill

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