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What are some of the key ideas associated with the economist Kate Raworth?

A-Level, IB
AQA, Edexcel, OCR, IB, Eduqas, WJEC

Last updated 18 Jul 2023

Kate Raworth is an economist known for her work on reimagining economics and proposing a framework called "Doughnut Economics." Her ideas challenge traditional economic thinking and aim to create a more sustainable and equitable economy.

Here are some key ideas associated with Kate Raworth:

  1. Doughnut Economics: Raworth's central concept is the Doughnut Economics framework, which presents a new economic model that balances social and planetary boundaries. The doughnut shape represents a safe and just space for humanity to thrive, avoiding both social deprivation (the inner boundary) and ecological overshoot (the outer boundary). The model suggests that economic activity should strive to meet the needs of all individuals while respecting the limits of the Earth's resources.
  2. Beyond GDP: Raworth critiques the sole reliance on Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as a measure of economic progress and well-being. She argues that GDP fails to capture important aspects of human well-being, social equity, and environmental sustainability. Raworth advocates for a more comprehensive set of indicators that consider social, environmental, and economic dimensions of progress.
  3. Regenerative and Distributive Economies: Raworth promotes the idea of a regenerative and distributive economy. A regenerative economy is one that operates within ecological limits and aims to restore and regenerate natural resources. A distributive economy focuses on addressing inequality and ensuring that the benefits of economic activity are shared more equitably among individuals and communities.
  4. Holistic Thinking: Raworth encourages holistic and interdisciplinary thinking in economics. She calls for integrating insights from other disciplines such as sociology, ecology, and psychology to create a more realistic and inclusive economic framework. This approach allows for a deeper understanding of the complex interdependencies and feedback loops between the economy, society, and the environment.
  5. Economics as a Living System: Raworth suggests viewing the economy as a complex, evolving system rather than a static machine. This perspective acknowledges the dynamic nature of the economy, its interactions with social and ecological systems, and the need for adaptive and responsive policies.
  6. Transformative Change: Raworth emphasizes the need for transformative change in economic thinking and practice. She advocates for new narratives, policies, and institutions that can foster a more sustainable and just economy. Raworth's work encourages individuals, communities, businesses, and policymakers to engage in systemic change and challenge the status quo.

Kate Raworth's ideas have gained significant attention and have contributed to the growing movement for alternative economic thinking. Her work highlights the importance of ecological and social considerations in economic decision-making and offers a vision for a more inclusive and sustainable economic future.

Here are some of her notable works:

  • Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist (2017): This book is a classic work on doughnut economics that introduces the concept of the doughnut and discusses the four capitals.
  • Doughnut Economics Action Lab: This website is a resource for people who want to learn more about doughnut economics and how to put it into practice.
  • Doughnut Economics: An Invitation to the Economy of the Common Good (2022): This book is a sequel to Doughnut Economics that discusses the challenges of implementing doughnut economics and argues for a more just and equitable economy.

Raworth is a leading figure in the field of doughnut economics. Her work has had a significant impact on the movement for a more sustainable and equitable economy. Her ideas are still influential today, and they are used to inform economic policy decisions.

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