Kate Raworth: A New Economic Model Based on Planetary Boundaries Instead of Continual Growth

Donut Economics

VPRO (2017)

Film Review

In this documentary, Dutch filmmakers interview British economist Kate Raworth about her proposal to create a new economics that focuses on planetary boundaries instead of continual economic growth. Raworth argues that the world already has all the technological know-how we need to transition from fossil fuels to 100% renewable energy. However our archaic economic models will continue to favor massive resource extraction and waste accumulation so long as government policies continue to favor growth over sustainability.

She believes that state intervention is needed to develop a new circular economy that will minimize resource extraction and waste production. Her ideal is to establish collaborative networks between manufacturers that enable them to recycle their products when they wear out or break down of dumping them in landfills and the ocean. The “donut” Raworth uses to illustrate her economic model calls for sufficient economic activity to lift people in the donut hole out of extreme poverty and oppression without overshooting planetary boundaries (by increasing carbon, particulate, and toxic pollution and exacerbating species extinction).

The filmmakers ask her to comment on two existing manufacturers that incorporate this circular approach to waste. The first is a Dutch company that “rents” jeans instead of “selling” them. When they wear out, the customer returns them to the factory to be recycled into new jeans. The second profiles a  Dutch company that reclaims gold, silver and scarce earth minerals from used cellphones and circuit boards.

 

 

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