Doughnut Economics Book Summary - Doughnut Economics Book explained in key points
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Doughnut Economics summary

Kate Raworth

Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist

4.1 (193 ratings)
27 mins

Brief summary

Doughnut Economics by Kate Raworth explores a new vision of an economy that promotes social justice and sustainability, centered around a "doughnut" of planetary and social boundaries.

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    Doughnut Economics
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    The Doughnut is a new way of thinking about sustainable economics in the twenty-first century.

    Economics is the world’s lingua franca, spoken by both business and government. Yet many of its basic assumptions are flawed. Crises like the 2008 financial crash have proved as much – economists just didn’t see it coming. Then there are the slow-burning issues of climate change and global inequality.

    If it wants to meet the challenges of the twenty-first-century head-on, economics needs to change. Fresh thinking is the order of the day.

    So where do we start?

    One idea that might help us out of our current predicament is the author Kate Raworth’s concept of the Doughnut.

    Picture a classic doughnut with a hole in the middle. It’s made up of two circles – one, the inside edge, and the other, the outside. The former can be thought of as the social foundation, while the latter represents an ecological ceiling.

    Between these two rings – in the dough, to stick to our metaphor – is what the author terms “a safe and just home for humanity.” A place defined by dynamic balance. Within it, all our social needs can be met without overburdening the planet.

    Let’s unpack the first concept: the Doughnut’s social foundation includes everything that humans need in order to live.

    That covers basics such as access to clean water and food, but there’s more to it than that.

    We don’t just want humans to simply survive, we want them to thrive. A full human life is about more than just having enough to eat. It also requires more abstract social goods like support networks, a sense of community, political representation and gender equality.

    And what about the ecological ceiling?

    Essentially, this is the ecological boundary we have to respect if we also want the earth to thrive.

    In 2009, a group of earth systems scientists, led by Johan Rockström and Will Steffen, identified nine processes vital to our planet’s ability to sustain human life. These processes are threatened by ozone layer depletion, ocean acidification, nitrogen and phosphorus loading, chemical pollution, freshwater depletion, land conversion, air pollution, climate change and biodiversity loss.

    The outer ring of the Doughnut functions as a “guardrail” to protect these key processes. If we cross it, we risk environmental catastrophe.

    The problem, however, is that we’ve already leaped over the rail at least four times! Climate change, nitrogen and phosphorus loading, land conversion and biodiversity loss are already well underway.

    The clock is already ticking and time is in short supply. If we want to get humanity into the Doughnut, we have to act now.

    But before we do anything, we need to change the way we think about the world. And that starts by challenging our obsession with endless growth.

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    What is Doughnut Economics about?

    Doughnut Economics (2017) is a call to arms for a fresh approach to economics. As inequality soars and environmental crisis looms, the book’s central question has never seemed more relevant. How can we build a just economic system that allows us to thrive while preserving the planet? A good place to start, Kate Raworth suggests, is to do away with the old myths that have shaped economic thinking for so long. Zeroing in on the doughnut-shaped “sweet spot” in which our needs can be sustainably met, this is a thought-provoking read which might just help save the world.

    Doughnut Economics Review

    Doughnut Economics (2017) by Kate Raworth is a thought-provoking book that challenges traditional economic theories and provides a fresh perspective on creating sustainable and equitable societies. Here's what makes this book worth reading:

    • The book offers a compelling critique of mainstream economics, showing how it often fails to consider critical ecological and social factors.
    • Raworth presents her doughnut model, which offers a new framework for economic thinking that takes into account both planetary boundaries and societal needs.
    • Packed with examples from around the world, the book illustrates how embracing this new economic mindset can lead to sustainable and fair economies that benefit everyone.

    Best quote from Doughnut Economics

    The twenty-first-century task is clear: to create economies that promote human prosperity in a flourishing web of life…

    —Kate Raworth
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    Who should read Doughnut Economics?

    • Anyone losing sleep over the Earth’s future as climate change kicks in
    • Economic innovators in search of new models for a new century
    • Fans of fresh thinking on big topics

    About the Author

    Kate Raworth is a senior visiting research associate at the University of Oxford’s Environmental Change Institute. A self-declared renegade in the economics profession, Raworth’s work is focused on social, economic and environmental sustainability in the twenty-first century. Named by the Guardian newspaper as one of the top ten tweeters in her field, she has presented her ideas to everyone from the UN General Assembly to the Occupy movement.

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    Doughnut Economics FAQs 

    What is the main message of Doughnut Economics?

    The main message of Doughnut Economics is to create a sustainable and just economy that operates within the planetary boundaries.

    How long does it take to read Doughnut Economics?

    The reading time for Doughnut Economics varies, but it usually takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Doughnut Economics a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Doughnut Economics is worth reading to gain insights into building a more equitable and sustainable economic system.

    Who is the author of Doughnut Economics?

    The author of Doughnut Economics is Kate Raworth.

    What to read after Doughnut Economics?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Doughnut Economics, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Good Economics for Hard Times by Abhijit V. Banerjee and Esther Duflo
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    • Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
    • 23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism by Ha-Joon Chang
    • Power And Prediction by Ajay Agrawal
    • Economics: The User’s Guide by Ha-Joon Chang
    • Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy by Joseph Schumpeter
    • Basic Economics by Thomas Sowell
    • The Law of Success by Napoleon Hill
    • Atomic Habits by James Clear