The economics of compassion & survival


Kate Raworth’s Book is written in a language nearest to the one that economists understand, but at the same time sets out truths (such as that economics is embedded within society and in turn within the ecology of the world) that the culture of economics currently for the most part denies. With its ‘seven ways to think like a 21st century economist’, the book surgically kills off the misguided holy cows of  current economics. It also quietly leads the environmentalist towards an acceptance of economics as a legitimate discipline that has simply gone astray in modern times. Raworth writes from a position of authority. She spent years wrestling not only with economic theory, but at first hand through her work with Oxfam, with the devastation that ‘conventional’ economics, and its convenient conviction that self-interest ultimately delivers wealth for all, has wreaked in the developing world.

She has an ease with words, but the genius of the book lies in its diagrams. In her own words, ‘a picture can be worth 1000 words’, and Raworth’s drawings certainly have an incredible capacity to lodge in the mind. The doughnut is the central diagram of Raworth’s polemic and gives us a picture of the economic ‘comfort zone’ between society’s ‘social foundation’ and the ‘ecological ceiling’ of human activity.

I would really like to see this book reviewed in the Economist and gain tenure in the hitherto selfishly driven worlds of commerce, finance and investment.

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