Amsterdam is ditching our broken economic system for the doughnut model | The Optimist Daily
Today’s Solutions: July 12, 2024

This is one of those stories that you might look back to in a few years and remember as the starting point of a huge change in our world’s history. When we first covered this story years ago, it was already showing tons of promise. So, what are we talking about here?

In 2018, we shared a story about a new economic model developed by Kate Raworth. The Oxford University economist had been on a long mission to answer the question: how do we fast-track economic development while leaving a livable planet for future generations?

Her findings resulted in a bestselling book called Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist. Now, her blueprints for a greener economy are leaping off the page and becoming official policy for the city of Amsterdam as the Dutch capital looks to maneuver its way out of the economic mess left by the coronavirus pandemic.

The doughnut model, which has been formally embraced by the city as the starting point for public policy decisions, works like this: The inner ring of her donut sets out the minimum we need to lead a good life, derived from the UN’s sustainable development goals and agreed by world leaders of every political stripe. It ranges from food and clean water to a certain level of housing, sanitation, energy, education, healthcare, gender equality, income, and political voice. Anyone not attaining such minimum standards is living in the doughnut’s hole.

The outer ring of the doughnut, where the sprinkles go, represents the ecological ceiling drawn up by earth-system scientists. It highlights the boundaries across which humankind should not go to avoid damaging the climate, soils, oceans, the ozone layer, freshwater, and abundant biodiversity.

Between the two rings is the good stuff: the dough, where everyone’s needs and that of the planet are being met.

The central premise is simple: the goal of economic activity should be about meeting the core needs of all but within the means of the planet. The “doughnut” is a device to show what this means in practice. To make the model work for Amsterdam, Raworth scaled down the model to a “city portrait” showing where basic needs are not being met and “planetary boundaries” overshot. It displays how the issues are interlinked.

Amsterdam is the first city in the world to formally denounce our attachment to economic growth and laws of supply and demands, opting instead to embrace an economic model that works with the planet.

Solutions News Source Print this article
More of Today's Solutions

Florida carpenter ants: nature’s teeny tiny surgeons and wound care exp...

BY THE OPTIMIST DAILY EDITORIAL TEAM From building intricate nests to performing life-saving surgeries, Florida carpenter ants (Camponotus floridanus) are pushing the boundaries of ...

Read More

How to stop ‘stresslaxing’ and actually relax

BY THE OPTIMIST DAILY EDITORIAL TEAM Have you ever tried to relax but then wound up feeling more stressed? You are not alone. This ...

Read More

9 home interior design tips for longevity

The lives and habits of those who live in Blue Zones, otherwise known as the regions where the longest-living people on the planet live, ...

Read More

A new understanding of an old story—part IV of True American, a mini series

"Only by learning to live in harmony with your contradictions can you keep it all afloat." - Audre Lorde Over the course of the ...

Read More