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Date: 2024-03-03 Page is: DBtxt001.php txt00018580

Thought Leaders
Kate Rayworth

Ecological economics in the time of coronavirus

Burgess COMMENTARY
By academic training which ended in 1965, I am an engineer first, an economist second and an accountant third. In my adult lifetime, the Western world has been financialized and economic activity has become very very profitable. Compared to productivity, people and society have not done very well in the last 50+ years and the environment has been catastrophically degraded. However, over a period of just several weeks, the coronavirus crisis has shown up how incredibly fragile the socio-enviro-economic system has become. The good news is we have the engineering knowledge and capacity to have a much better world, but we all need people in leadership who will put the interest of people and planet ahead of profit. A good start will be better metrics that quantify social and environmental costs, benefits and risks as rigorously as we quantify profit performance.
Peter Burgess
Ecological economics in the time of coronavirus

Dear Friends of Doughnut Economics,

I hope you and your family and community are well, safe, and looking out for each other.

The need for new economic thinking is most evident than ever. I’m planning a series of video blogs exploring the coronavirus crisis through the lens of Doughnut Economics, but am struggling to find the time to get started – between working, homeschooling, housework, community care, and sleep. But these blogs are on the way. If you have any ideas or examples for them, please do share below or on Twitter.

Herman Daly, founding father of ecological economics, is one of my paradigm-changing heroes, so it was a huge honour to be in conversation with him and Andy Revkin on 31 March, talking about big-systems thinking, resilience, and the power of pictures in the time of coronavirus. Catch up with our hour-long video conversation and do check out the many other fascinating conversations on Andy’s #SustainWhat video series in response to coronavirus.

Posted by: Kate Raworth // General // April 1, 2020 Post navigation← We’re recruiting! DEAL’s Digital Communications Lead 10 thoughts on “Ecological economics in the time of coronavirus”
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Bernard Lietaer 1 April 2020 at 12:59 Efficiency is the opposite of resilience and sustainability is the liveable middle between them. Our economy needs more resilience to face crises as corona. Cf the shortage of masks in Belgium. Reply
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J Smolderen 1 April 2020 at 13:01 Dear Kate, Now that governments are bailing out companies and also handing out money to people in need, I would like to hear if this crisis wouldn’t be a good start implementing basic income. Now that we travel less, people have more time for family and things that really matter. And our need for “stuff” is declining too (I think, well except for toilet paper). Reply
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Mounia Barakat 1 April 2020 at 13:14 Thank you this is great! cannot wait! if we can please discuss how developing and strengthening small scale food systems can create more resilience, and how it is more important today to be self-sufficient in the main inputs for food production. Reply
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Olaf Blaauw 1 April 2020 at 13:25 One of the more uplifting learnings to come out of this crisis is that we discover that most of the entrenched system status quo’s we found ourselves in were self imposed. Systems (i.e. the Dutch healthcare system) are showing much greater plasticity than most people expected. “Givens” such as austerity and efficiency turned out to be anything but, at the flick of a viral switch. The Dutch proverb goes that “under pressure, everything liquifies”, and I see quite a number of people now getting into the “stop and think” mode. No time like the present, indeed👍🏻 Reply
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Russell Sheldrick 1 April 2020 at 13:50 Thanks Kate I’m looking forward to these blogs. Perhaps we could start to think about how we communicate the message of doughnut economics in a simple manner, to reach more people. The far right and conservative politicians have successfully conned people through the skilful use of sound bites and slogans that appeal to the ‘heart’ not the ‘head’. We have to be realistic and play this game if we are to make any difference and move beyond our own echo chamber. Reply
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Roger Kapp 1 April 2020 at 13:50 Dear Kate, I hope you and your family and relatives are safe too.

Now is the time to think a new economy that would put us back on track with the Symbiocene.

Please lead us out of the Anthropocene.

Doughnut Economy shall replace Corporate Socialism (neo-capitalism).
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David Spreen 1 April 2020 at 14:04 I would suggest reaching out to youth led groups like the Sunrise Movement. I think Sunrise would likely embrace the humanistic and ecological value of putting Doughnut Economics in motion. As for coronavirus, it is highly likely that the US will not be able to even produce enough testing chemicals, equipment, and domestic factories to keep up with demand. It is evident now that we can’t even generate the number of masks needed. You’d think the “richest nation in the world” would have enough masks in storage or rapid production capability to supply everyone. Businesses would be required to furnish every employee with one, including customers that may not have one. Excellent piece by Saagar Enjeti explains how the coronavirus crisis exposed the absurdities of our healthcare system: Reply
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David Spreen 1 April 2020 at 14:05 I would suggest reaching out to youth led groups like the Sunrise Movement. I think Sunrise would likely embrace the humanistic and ecological value of putting Doughnut Economics in motion. As for coronavirus, it is highly likely that the US will not be able to even produce enough testing chemicals, equipment, and domestic factories to keep up with demand. It is evident now that we can’t even generate the number of masks needed. You’d think the “richest nation in the world” would have enough masks in storage or rapid production capability to supply everyone. Businesses would be required to furnish every employee with one, including customers that may not have one. Excellent piece by Saagar Enjeti explains how the crisis exposed the absurdities of our healthcare system: Reply
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David Spreen 1 April 2020 at 14:08 Sorry … not sure why this posted twice and can’t find a delete button. I blame the virus. ; ) Reply
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Peter Burgess 1 April 2020 at 14:12 By academic training which ended in 1965, I am an engineer first, an economist second and an accountant third. In my adult lifetime, the Western world has been financialized and economic activity has become very very profitable. Compared to productivity, people and society have not done very well in the last 50+ years and the environment has been catastrophically degraded. However, over a period of just several weeks, the coronavirus crisis has shown up how incredibly fragile the socio-enviro-economic system has become. The good news is we have the engineering knowledge and capacity to have a much better world, but we all need people in leadership who will put the interest of people and planet ahead of profit. A good start will be better metrics that quantify social and environmental costs, benefits and risks as rigorously as we quantify profit performance.
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Posted by: Kate Raworth
April 1, 2020
The text being discussed is available at
https://www.kateraworth.com/2020/04/01/ecological-economics-in-the-time-of-coronavirus/#comment-145836
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