The economy as structured today is seriously flawed and has grave repercussions on the human condition - as of 2015 the world's richest 1% now own more wealth than all the other 99% put together - while the sustainability of our planet, due to human activity, is under unprecedented stress. Consequently, there is an urgent need for a radical restructuring of the economy, reorienting its aims and priorities.
Today's economy is divisive and degenerative by default, Tomorrow's economy must be distributive and regenerative by design.
The author, Kate Raworth was eminently qualified for writing the book and in the process articulating her vision for tomorrow's economy. An economist by training, she has worked during the last two decades in environmental and human development studies at Oxford and Cambridge Universities, Oxfam, the United Nations Development Program and the Overseas Development Institute in the villages of Zanzibar. The book is the product of this labor and the cumulative experience she acquired.
The author has an appreciation for the power of the picture. So, she depicted her vision of tomorrow's economy as having the shape of a Doughnut. The inner surface of the Doughnut represents a social foundation of well-being that no one should fall below, and the outer surface, an ecological ceiling of planetary pressure that we should not go beyond. Between the two lies a safe and just space for all.
The author, in the body of the book, proposes and elaborates on seven ways to think like a twenty-first century economist and at the same time for each of those seven ways, the spurious image that has occupied our minds, how it came to be so powerful, and the damaging influence it has had.
The ways she proposes are briefly described below:
Change the goal of pursuing GDP growth to investing efforts in meeting the human rights of every person within the means of our life giving planet;
see the big picture; draw the economy anew, embedding it within society and within nature, and powered by the sun; this new deviation invites new narratives: about the power of the market, the partnership of the state, the core role of the household and the creativity of the commons; nurture human nature: the new self-portrait reveals that we are social, interdependent, approximating, fluid in values, and dependent upon the living world; get savvy with systems: manage the economy as an ever-evolving complex system; design to distribute: it is a recognition that there are many ways to design economics to be far more distributive of the value they generate; create to regenerate: this century needs economic thinking that unleashes regenerative design in order to create a circular - not linear economy and to restore humans as full participants in Earth's cyclical processes of life; and finally, be agnostic about growth - what we need is economics that make us thrive, whether or not they grow.
The author is, of course, fully cognizant of the inherent difficulties of the exercise due to the combination of entrenched beliefs, interests, and power. But the skeptical reader, should always remember that the present structure of the economy does not have the power of physical law because it is a human construct amenable to change albeit through vigorous and sustained effort.