Seven ways to think like a 21st century economist (2023)

Seven ways to think like a 21st century economist (1)


No one can deny it: the economy matters. His theories are the mother tongue of public policy, the raison d'être of multimillion dollar investments, and the tools used to fight global poverty and manage our planetary home. Too bad, then, that its basic ideas are centuries outdated and still guide decision-making for the future.

Today's business students will be among the influential citizens and policymakers shaping human society in 2050 of the 21st century, from climate change and extreme inequality to recurring financial crises: this is shaping up to be a catastrophe. We have little chance of writing a new, contemporary economic history if we continue to rely on the economic history books of the last century.

(Video) Summary of Doughnut Economics - 7 Ways To Think Like a 21st Economist (Kate Raworth)

When I studied economics at university 25 years ago, I believed that it would enable me to contribute to solving the social and environmental challenges facing humanity. But like many of today's disillusioned students, I was deeply frustrated by his disconnect between relevance and reality. So I left his theories and dived into real-world economic challenges, from the villages of Zanzibar to the United Nations headquarters to the front lines of Oxfam's campaign.

In doing so, I realized that you can't leave economics behind because it shapes the world we live in, so I decided to go back and turn it around. What if we started economics with humanity's goals for the 21st century and then asked what kind of economic thinking gave us half the chance of achieving them?

Spurred on by this question, I put aside my old economics textbooks and searched for the best new ideas I could find, drawing from a variety of schools of thought, including complex, ecological, feminist, behavioral, and institutional economics, and set about discovering what happens when everyone dances the same side. The insights I have gained imply that the economic future will be exciting but vastly different from the past provided we arm ourselves with the right mindset. So here are seven ways I think we can all start thinking like 21st-century economists:

1. Change the goal: from GDP growth to donut.

For more than half a century, economists have been obsessed with using GDP as the primary measure of economic progress, but GDP is a false target waiting to be shot. The 21st century calls for a much more ambitious global economic goal:Meet everyone's needs within the limits of the planet's capabilities. I drew this target on the page, and oddly enough, it looks like a donut.The challenge now is to create local to global economies that ensure no one lacks the necessities of life, from food and shelter to health care and political voice, while protecting the earth's vital systems, from a stable climate and fertile soils to healthy oceans and an environment. protective ozone layer. This single shift in purpose changes the meaning and form of economic progress: from endless growth to balanced prosperity.

(Video) Kate Raworth presenting "Doughnut economics – seven ways to think like a 21st century economist"

2. See the big picture: from an independent market to an integrated economy.

Exactly 70 years ago, in April 1947, an ambitious group of economists wrote a neoliberal economic history that has dominated the international stage since Thatcher and Reagan came to power in the 1980s. His narrative of the efficiency of the market, the incompetence of the state, the domesticity of the family, and the tragedy of the commons helped propel many societies into social and ecological collapse. It is time to write a new economic history fit for this century, which sees the economy's dependence on society and the living world. This story needs to recognize the power of the market, so let's integrate it wisely; the national association, so we hold them accountable; the primary function of the family, so let's value your contribution; and the creativity of the commons, so let's unleash their potential.

3. Concern for human nature: from rational economic man to socially adaptable man.

The central figure of the economy of the 20th century, the "rational economic man", draws a pathetic picture of man: he is alone, with money in his hand, a pocket calculator in his head, an ego in his heart and nature at his side. Foot. Worse, when we're told he's just like us, we actually look more like him, to the detriment of our communities and the planet. But human nature is much richer than that, as the emerging sketches of our new self-portrait show: we are reciprocal, interdependent, and bringing together people deeply rooted in the world of the living. It is time to place this new portrait of humanity at the center of economic theory, so that economics can begin to promote the best in human nature. This will give the ten billion of us who are coming a much better chance of succeeding together.

4. Acquire system knowledge: from mechanical balance to dynamic complexity.

(Video) Seven Ways To Think Like A 21st Century Economist (Doughnut Economics) - Some More Talk

Economics has long suffered from the envy of physics: impressed by the genius of Isaac Newton and his insight into the physical laws of motion, 19th-century economists were obsessed with discovering the economic laws of motion. But these simply don't exist: they are mere models, much like the market equilibrium theory that blinded economists to the impending 2008 financial crisis. For this reason, 21st-century economists embrace complexity and evolutionary thinking. Putting dynamic thinking at the heart of economics opens new perspectives for understanding the 1% surge and the rise and fall of financial markets. It's time to stop looking for the elusive levers of controlling the economy (they don't exist) and instead start managing the economy as an ever-evolving system.

5. Design to distribute: from "growth will be the same again" to distributive design.

In the 20th century, economic theory whispered a strong message when it came to inequality: it has to get worse before it can get better, and growth will eventually even things out. But it turns out that extreme inequality isn't a law or an economic necessity, it's a design flaw. Twenty-first century economists recognize that there are many ways to design economies that distribute far more value to those who help create them. And that means going beyond the redistribution of income to the pre-distribution of wealth, such as wealth that resides in land ownership, business, and the power to create money.

6. Created to regenerate: from “growth will cleanse again” to regenerative by design.

Economic theory has long portrayed a clean environment as a luxury accessible only to the wealthy, a view that says pollution must increase before it can decrease, and (guess what) growth will eventually clean it up. . But like inequality, there is no such economic law: environmental degradation is the result of degenerative industrial designs. This century requires economic thinking that unlocks the potential of regenerative design to create a circular, nonlinear economy and restore us as full participants in the cyclical processes of life on Earth.

(Video) Seven ways to think like a 21st century economist

7. Being growth agnostic: From growth addict to growth agnostic.

To the concern of governments and financiers, GDP growth forecasts are faltering in many high-income countries, opening a crisis in the growth-based economy. Perpetual GDP growth is seen as imperative by mainstream economics, but nothing in nature grows forever, and the economic attempt to reverse this trend raises tough questions in high-income, low-growth countries. That's because today we have economies that need to grow, whether they help us prosper or not. We need economies that allow us to thrive, whether they're growing or not. This fundamental shift in perspective invites us to become growth agnostic and to examine how our economies, currently financially, politically and socially addicted to growth, might learn to live with or without growth.

I am convinced that these seven ways of thinking like a 21st century economist are fundamental to the new economic thinking that this century requires. . Given the speed, scale and uncertainty of the change we will face in the coming years, and the diversity of contexts from Beijing to Birmingham to Bamako, it would be unwise to attempt now to prescribe all the policies and institutions needed to make it happen are suitable future. The next generation of thinkers and doers will be much better able to experiment and figure out what works when the context is constantly changing.

What we can do now, and must do well, is to bring together the best ideas to create a new economic mindset that is never fixed but always evolving. The task of economic thinkers in the coming decades will be to bring these seven ways of thinking together and add them up in practice. We have only just begun this adventure of rethinking the economy. Please join the crew.

Kate Raworth's new book isDonut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st Century Economist.

(Video) Big Ideas | Doughnut Economics: How to Think Like a 21st Century Economist - Kate Raworth


What is the doughnut economic theory? ›

The Doughnut consists of two concentric rings: a social foundation, to ensure that no one is left falling short on life's essentials, and an ecological ceiling, to ensure that humanity does not collectively overshoot the planetary boundaries that protect Earth's life-supporting systems.

What cities are Doughnut Economics? ›

Cities can act as transforming agents of this change proposed by Raworth. Amsterdam, Brussels, Melbourne or Berlin are examples of cities joining the "doughnut effect" and are thus paving the way towards social and environmental sustainability.

What is key to the way economists think? ›

Economists evaluate the “cost” of individual and social choices to determine the best choices for themselves or others in the face of this scarcity. Opportunity cost is a fundamental economic theory and one of the most important to understand if you want to think more like an economist.

What are the 7 major economic and social goals describe each? ›

Social Studies

Analyze how each type of system answers the three economic questions and meets the broad social and economic goals of freedom, security, equity, growth, efficiency, price stability, full employment, and sustainability.

What are the 7 major economic and social goals explain? ›

National economic goals include: efficiency, equity, economic freedom, full employment, economic growth, security, and stability.

What is America's #1 doughnut brand? ›

The Overall Fan Favorite with more votes than any other donut shop was Rise 'n Roll Bakery, based in Indiana. Their Cinnamon Caramel Donut was voted far and away the most popular donut in America.

What is the donut capital of the US? ›

L.A., with one of the highest concentrations of doughnut shops anywhere, is the undisputed doughnut capital of the United States,” says photographer Theo Stroomer, who has spent the past year visiting hundreds of doughnut shops in the metropolitan area.

What city in the US has the best Donuts? ›

The 50 best cities for donut lovers
RankCityDonuts Proportion Rank
1Worcester, MA3
2Rochester, NY25
3Jersey City, NJ5
4Providence, RI21
46 more rows
Nov 8, 2021

What are 4 requirements of an economist? ›

As an economist, you'd research and monitor economic trends, and create statistical models to predict future developments.
  • A good grasp of maths, economics and accounting.
  • Analytical and logical thinking skills.
  • Attention to detail.
  • Excellent verbal communication skills.

Who is the youngest economist? ›

Offered tenure at the age of 28, Chetty became one of the youngest tenured faculty in the history of Harvard's economics department.
Raj Chetty
BornNadarajan Chetty August 4, 1979 New Delhi, India
InstitutionStanford University Harvard University University of California, Berkeley
8 more rows

Can you be an economist without math? ›

Dear Aspirant yes you can do Ba economics without mathematics as compulsory subject in class 12. for any further query feel free to ask! hope it helps!

What are the 7 key ideas in the economic way of thinking? ›

  • . What Seven Principles Guide an Economic Way of Thinking? ...
  • Principle 1: Scarcity Forces Tradeoffs. ...
  • Principle 2: Costs Versus Benefits. ...
  • Principle 3: Thinking at the Margin. ...
  • Principle 4: Incentives Matter. ...
  • Principle 5: Trade Makes People Better Off. ...
  • Principle 6: Markets Coordinate Trade. ...
  • Principle 7: Future Consequences Count.

What are the 3 questions economists must ask? ›

Economic systems answer three basic questions: what will be produced, how will it be produced, and how will the output society produces be distributed? There are two extremes of how these questions get answered.

What are the 7 economic systems? ›

The different kinds of economic systems are Market Economy, Planned Economy, Centrally Planned Economy, Socialist, and Communist Economies. All these are characterized by the ownership of the economics resources and the allocation of the same.

What are the 7 economic goals ranked? ›

What are the 7 economic goals? Economic freedom, economic equity, economic security, economic growth, economic efficiency, price stability, and full employment are the common goals.

What are the 8 economic goals? ›

ECONOMIC GOALS The following is a list of the major economic goals: 1) economic growth, 2) price level stability, 3) economic efficiency, 4) full employment, 5) balanced trade, 6) economic security, 7) equitable distribution of income, and 8) economic freedom.

What are the 5 basic goals of all economic systems? ›

strive to achieGe a set of broad social goals, usually including economic freedom, efficiency, equity, growth, and stability.

What are the 5 main characteristics of capitalism? ›

Capitalism has many unique features, some of which include a two-class system, private ownership, a profit motive, minimal government intervention, and competition.

What are the 5 goals of economics? ›

In general, the primary economic goals include full employment, economic growth, economic stability, equality, and enhanced efficiency.

Who sells more donuts Krispy Kreme vs Dunkin Donuts? ›

2. Dunkin' Donuts. We all knew it would end with a showdown between Krispy Kreme and Dunkin' Donuts, didn't we? Dunkin' Donuts is the largest donut chain, with 11,000 stores in 33 countries.

What country eats the most doughnuts? ›

Per capita, Canadians eat the most doughnuts compared to all world countries. The large number of Tim Hortons restaurants in Canada (over 4,600) significantly contributes to this consumption rate.

What is the rarest donut? ›

First of all, it's filled with Dom Perignon jelly. If that isn't enough on its own, the donut is also covered by edible diamonds(?!) and topped with a 24k gold leaf and gold-dusted white chocolate flowers. You can't walk into your local Krispy Kreme and demand the Dom Perignon jelly, though.

Which city eats the most donuts? ›

Don't let its reputation for kale salads and acai bowls fool you—Los Angeles is the hole-ly grail for donut devotees. Almost 1,500 independent donut shops dish out these deep-fried delights, which means there are more opportunities for a sugar high here than anywhere else in the country.

Is Chicago a donut city? ›

Chicago, Illinois

The windy city doesn't mess around when it comes to donuts. Just about every neighborhood has a beloved, old-timey donut shop (looking at you, 90-year-old Dinkel's), but downtown is a hotbed of fried dough ingenuity.

What is the oldest donut shop in the United States? ›

1. In 1673, the first doughnut shop in the United States was opened by a Dutch woman named Mrs. Anna Joralemon, on Broadway (near Maiden Lane) in New York City. When you do something that awesome, you'll get a street named after you, just like Mrs.

What are the differences between circular economy and doughnut economy? ›

The circular economy represents a shift from a linear economy to regenerative one. Doughnut economics extends this transformation to encompass a double shift – from a linear economy to a regenerative and distributed economy that looks at sustainable development across a number of different vectors.

Is doughnut economics capitalism? ›

The doughnut economy, in contrast to capitalism, takes its cue from nature. Trees grow to maturity and then thrive for years. Trees do not grow to the top of the sky. Similarly, doughnut economics respects the ecological ceiling by focusing on a reduction of ecological overshoot.

Who came up with donut economics? ›

The theory called “Doughnut Economics” was invented by an English economist, Kate Raworth, who was wishing to eradicate poverty and to put an end to environmental destructions.

Can we live within the doughnut? ›

The resulting space – the doughnut – is where inclusive and sustainable economic development takes place. It implies no limit to human well-being: indeed, within this space is humanity's best chance to thrive.

What are the 4 main concepts of circular economy? ›

Circular economy: Four concepts to manage waste efficiently

A circular economy focuses on reducing wastage and pollution with repair, reuse and reduction. In addition, it also emphasizes restoring natural systems while creating conditions for supporting regeneration.

What are the benefits of the Doughnut model? ›

The doughnut economics model can guide us towards a more sustainable and fair economy: it highlights a range of minimum social criteria and maximum ecosystem limits. The sweet spot in between is the 'doughnut', a safe space where people and nature can thrive together across generations.

What are the 3 principles of circular economy? ›

A circular economy. It is based on three principles, driven by design: eliminate waste and pollution, circulate products and materials (at their highest value), and regenerate nature.

What is the controversy with Doughnut Economics? ›

Some conservatives say the doughnut model can't compete with capitalism's proven ability to lift millions out of poverty. Some critics on the left say the doughnut's apolitical nature means it will fail to tackle ideology and political structures that prevent climate action.

What is replacing capitalism? ›

According to classical Marxist and social evolutionary theories, post-capitalist societies may come about as a result of spontaneous evolution as capitalism becomes obsolete. Others propose models to intentionally replace capitalism, most notably socialism, communism, anarchism, nationalism and degrowth.

What is the doughnut capital of the United States? ›

L.A., with one of the highest concentrations of doughnut shops anywhere, is the undisputed doughnut capital of the United States,” says photographer Theo Stroomer, who has spent the past year visiting hundreds of doughnut shops in the metropolitan area.


1. Kate Raworth - Doughnut economics: How to Think Like a 21st Century Economist
(Disruptive Innovation Festival - DIF)
2. Doughnut Economics: 7 Ways to Think Like a 21st Century Economist | Kate Raworth Book Review
(Max Klymenko)
3. Seven ways to think like a 21st century economist
4. 1. Change the Goal - 1/7 Doughnut Economics
(Doughnut Economics Action Lab)
5. 《甜甜圈经济学》Doughnut Economics:Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist
6. Doughnut Economics by Kate Raworth: book trailer
(Doughnut Economics Action Lab)


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