Doughnut Economics: Finding the sweet spot between social justice and environmental sustainability

In her new book Doughnut Economics economist Kate Raworth presents an alternative economic model which takes into account both environmental sustainability and social justice.

Raworth’s theory describes a doughnut in which the outer ring represents the planetary boundary (the limits of the earth’s natural resources) and the inner ring delineates the social boundary (the basic needs of a human population).

She points out that these are two factors which have been left out of traditional economic models, which she believes have been massively oversimplified.

The space in between, the substance of the doughnut as it were, is the ‘safe and just space for humanity’, the sweet spot of a regenerative and distributive economy.

For a more detailed explanation of the doughnut model, see Raworth’s TEDx Talk below:

The doughnut has been welcomed by many commentators as a basis for further debate and development of a new economic model which is more suited to the realities in which we live. Others have used it as an aid to consider the environmental and social impact of their lives or organisations; asking the question, for example, ‘Is our brand a doughnut?’

Co-founder of Yes! magazine, David Korten, is very impressed with the doughnut. He considers it ‘both the nail in the coffin of conventional economics and the real-world-based intellectual structure from which an authentic real-world economics for the 21st century can grow’ and he leaves his readers with this advice:


“For anyone contemplating signing up for a standard economics course or degree to help them solve real-world problems, I highly recommend buying and reading Doughnut Economics instead. You will save time and money and avoid the risk of serious brain damage.”


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