What about joy?


Hello all. Just had a thought to throw out there and see what people think.

In addition to the development goals, it seems that something that is essential to human well-being and by extension to the well-being of the planet is joy. Compassion, positivity, caring, nurturing, optimism, beauty, that sort of thing. I was talking in another topic (on impact investing) about the need to replace “growth” with “balance” as the goal toward which to strive.

Well, in terms of balance, at the moment, I sometimes think the balance has tipped a bit negative. Intolerance, xenophobia, selfishness, greed, aggression, unkindness…feel free to add to the list.

So it seems to me that a simple way to contribute to getting the whole thing back in to positive balance is to think of ways to encourage the good stuff. Kindness. Sharing. Compassion. Beauty. Tolerance. Joy.

This would mean that, in the new economy, maybe the artists and carers and poets and mediators etc. would also be valued for their contribution to keeping the whole enterprise from tipping too far in the negative balance direction – because I really do think that without them we would be lost already… In this way, doughnut economics could also influence education and public policy in really transformative ways.

I mean, as long as we’re going holistic in our economic approach, we might as well include all the things that really matter…

Just a thought to put out there for consideration.



Hi again. Sorry to be replying to my own post, but I think I’ve cracked how to include the dimension discussed above in the Doughnut Economics model.

It’s the flavor of the doughnut! An important dimension, surely?

Do we want our doughnut to taste of bile, of tears, of blood, or do we want it to taste sweet?

Sweetness can be added to the mix by the sorts of things mentioned above: beauty, peace-making, caring, fun, etc. Joy.

This may seem frivolous, but I don’t think it is.

For example, if you think of it in terms of a national budget, it is conceivable that one day we may evaluate such things by how much they contribute to or take away from the “balance” goal that will one day replace “growth”. Might it not be possible to also evaluate them in terms of whether they also contribute to sweetening the mix?

In austerity, which is born of a purely monetary way of looking at things, in my view, a lot of really important things are dropped because the monetary way of looking at things considers them to be without value. Stuff like arts funding, counselling services, mental health, special needs, etc. While stuff like increased “security” measures are rarely cut…

So, considering the whole in terms of the flavor of the doughnut – which we all share, let’s not forget --might be a way to address this insufficiency in the current model…