The Doughnut Model

I am so happy writing and researching, that I almost forget to set the stage for my posts. Yes, there is a stage. Since I am writing about economics, the stage is set by the economic problem – the problem of scarcity. To me, scarcity is the crux of economics – without scarcity no economics so to say, but I never felt equipped to get that across to my students. I could explain the concept, but then we would leave it for the next topic, and it would retreat to the back of our minds – if not leave the minds of my students completely. So when I watched Kate Raworth’s TED Talk and read her book, Doughnut Economics, I was nothing short from grateful that finally, finally I have the equipment to not only explain scarcity, but keep it at the front of our minds: the Doughnut Model.

Copyright 2018 Kate Raworth – kateraworth.com

The Doughnut Model visualises the economic problem – how do we stay in the save haven with all people on board? She did this by drawing a circle with in the middle a hole, if you fall over its edge your not on board, not included. This edge she calls the social foundation. The outside of the circle is actually a ceiling, an ecological ceiling – if we go through the roof the last thing of us has been seen. So that leaves us with the space in between, a doughnut shaped space, thus the Doughnut Model. The model illustrates the need to be economical and raises the question of distribution, not only of income, but also of access to sources of income, basic human needs, and a ‘say’. When we discuss market failure – which is in fact crossing the boundaries of the doughnut – we can use the model to visualise this: is the market failing us into the hole or are we going through the roof, or both? And when we discuss topics like welfare and economic growth, we can ask questions about the sustainability of our welfare standards.

So I salute Kate, for providing me with this instrument, which, I hope, will from now on head the list of economic models.