Since publishing Doughnut Economics in 2017, renegade British economist Kate Raworth has become a phenomenon that mainstream economics largely declines to acknowledge but increasingly cannot ignore. Her book has been praised by the Pope, the UN General Assembly, and Extinction Rebellion, and translated into over 20 languages. Guardian columnist George Monbiot calls the book “brilliant, thrilling and revolutionary,” comparing it to John Maynard Keynes’ bravura General Theory book, which revolutionized economics in 1936.
Raworth’s reconceptualization of the economy as a doughnut accents two features that should be at the center of any economy: the ability to meet everyone’s basic human needs (the inner ring of the doughnut) and the ability to stay within the ecological “carrying capacity” of Earth (the outer ring).
The framework doesn’t sound so controversial. But when I spoke to Raworth for my podcast Frontiers of Commoning (Episode #15), I was astonished to learn that the economics profession, at least within the academy, has largely ignored her book despite its popularity. Scholars in development studies, political science, and architecture are keenly interested, she notes, as are countless students, activists, and city governments. The cities of Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and Brussels, among others, have actually embraced “the doughnut” as a way to guide their municipal policies and programs.