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‘Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-century Economist’ by Kate Raworth



Kate Raworth’s ‘Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st Century Economist’ was featured at this month’s Book Club on the 25th of February with readers joining the discussion in-person as well as through Zoom. 

The author calls for the reframing of the popular understanding of economics in the current status quo. She argues that the main aim of economic activity should be “meeting the needs of all within the means of the planet” and that the characterizations of the “rational economic man” as only self-interested and calculating, by the likes of historical economists such as John Stuart Mill, has led the modern-day teachings of economics astray. In contrast, her model of ‘Doughnut Economics’ has the ecological well-being of the planet at its core.

Our conversation started with the question of whether Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was a legitimate metric to assess economic prosperity. While the author did not think so, some of the readers reaffirmed the use of the prevalent measure as appropriate while others alluded to the lapses within the process of calculating accurate figures for GDP such as the issue of income gained from avenues such as Spotify not being accounted for in contexts such as Sri Lanka. 

Later on, participants debated the author’s categorization of multiple economists in the past and argued against the authors’ methodology of enabling new economic thinking by rejecting contemporary economic schools such as neo-classical economics. Instead, the readers agreed that the use of basic classical economic models (supply and demand curves, etc) is beneficial and that ‘multiplicity of institutions’ (her counter-proposal) is possible in tandem with those schools of economics.

The conversation even evolved into the discussion of Malthusian economics and its gross underestimation of the role of technology in economics which was mirrored throughout Kate Raworth’s work.

This session featured many more refreshing insights from the dedicated readers of the Nightwatchman Society! If you’d like to join our book club sessions and become a regular member, just drop us an email at info@nightwatchmansociety.org