All Episodes

March 16, 2023 51 mins

It’s no secret that our economy only works for a select few. But what would our economy look like if we prioritized people and the planet, instead of profit? Economist Kate Raworth says it might look like a doughnut and to build it requires changing how we talk about, teach, and imagine economics. Baratunde talks with Kate about her theory of doughnut economics and how we can build an economy that works for all life on Earth—exploring how our small acts of consumerism can enhance or degrade a culture of democracy. 



Internally Reflect - What We Call Ourselves Matters

It's clear that we show up with different values, norms and expectations when called as a citizen rather than as a consumer. Take a moment to reflect on how you might interact differently with e-commerce and purchasing decisions if you were called a “Steward to the Commons.”

Become More Informed - Digest the Doughnut 

Check out Kate's 2018 TED talk (where Baratunde first met her!). Also, read Kate’s book Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist

Publicly Participate - Find or Start Some Doughnuts Near You

Join the community at Doughnut Economics Action Lab! You can check out the members map to find others near you and read stories of how community groups are getting started putting the ideas into practice. You can also create your own event on DEAL's platform inviting others in your locality (be it town, city, or state) to join you. And check out the tools Kate mentioned: Doughnut Unrolled and Doughnut Design for Business



Check out the Doughnut Unrolled tool Kate developed for cities and places interested in trying out the doughnut. 

Find How To Citizen on Instagram or visit to join our mailing list and find ways to citizen besides listening to this podcast! 

Please show your support for the show by reviewing and rating. It makes a huge difference with the algorithmic overlords and helps others like you find the show!

How To Citizen is hosted by Baratunde Thurston. He’s also host and executive producer of the PBS series, America Outdoors as well as a founding partner and writer at Puck. You can find him all over the internet



How To Citizen with Baratunde is a production of iHeartRadio Podcasts and Rowhome Productions. Our Executive Producers are Baratunde Thurston and Elizabeth Stewart. Allie Graham is our Lead Producer and Danya AbdelHameid is our Associate Producer. Alex Lewis is our Managing Producer. John Myers is our Executive Editor. Original Music by Andrew Eapen and Blue Dot Sessions. Our Audience Engagement Fellows are Jasmine Lewis and Gabby Rodriguez. Special thanks to Joelle Smith from iHeartRadio and Layla Bina.

Additional thanks to our citizen voices Wesley F. and Sara H. 

See for privacy information.

Mark as Played

Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:01):
It wasn't a completely crazy thing to call it donut economics,
because some people say, this is a very serious model.
We're talking about the future of life on earth. How
could you name it after American drunk fruit. A lot
of people are intimidated by economics, but no one's afraid
of donuts. You might love them or hate than being're
not afraid. And it just tells you this is a
playful space. And so people showed up and started playing.

Welcome to How the Citizen with Baritune Day, a podcast
that reimagine citizen as a verb, not a legal status.
This season is all about how we practice democracy, what
can we get rid of, what can we invent, and
how do we change the culture of democracy itself. We're
leaving the theoretical clouds and hitting the ground with inspiring
examples of people and institutions that are showing us new

ways to govern ourselves. When I first heard economist Kate
ray Worth describe her theory of donut economics, I thought
it sounded delicious. It was twenty eighteen and I was
at this big, fancy conference all about bold new ideas

to solve some of our most pressing problems. Ted it
was the TED conference. Okay, there were talks on AI
mitigating the impacts of climate change, y'all. Tracy Ellis Ross
even made an appearance. So when Kate got up on
that stage and started talking about sweet fried dough, it
caught me off guard. But the vision she shared for

a new circular economy that works for everyone, I was like, yum. Literally, economics,
as we traditionally know it is all about one thing, growth,
and we don't just hear it from economists. We hear
it from politicians and journalists all the time. We need

to grow our GDP. We've got a max homage this
and optimize that. We have to produce more and consume more.
They all say we need to keep the economy growing,
But looking around, I can't say that what we're growing
is actually good. You know it, and I know it.

We can't maintain endless growth, at least not in a
healthy way, and that fact seems to be obvious except
when it comes to our economy. I mean, when something
grows endlessly in our bodies, we call that cancer and
rush to get it under control so it doesn't destroy
its host. So why would we insist that our economy

can grow endlessly without destroying us the people who live
within it, and destroy the planet that we live on.
So if endless growth isn't the goal, what is. How
About we prioritize people and the planet instead of just profit.
How About we meet the needs of everyone without exceeding
the limits of our only planet. And how about we

find ways to thrive in that space between an inner
boundary of human need and an outer boundary of planetary limits,
a space, oddly enough, that's shaped like a donut. This
is what donut economics is all about. We've talked about
the economy a lot on this show because, as we

said in season two, it's hard to citizen when you
can't pay the bills. Now, in that season, we explored
how wealth inequality stifles democracy. We talk to historians, organizers,
and entrepreneurs. We learned about cooperative economics, social franchises, and
other business models that put people and the planet at

the center. Kate's theory of donut economics gives all these
beautiful solutions an umbrella to live under. It helps those
of us who are frustrated by an economy that only
works for a select few find and connect with one
another so we can build something better together. Kate first

coined the term donut economics a decade ago, and her
twenty seventeen book of the same name, Donut Economics, Seven
Ways to Think Like a twenty first Century Economist, is
an international bestseller. From promoting regenerative design practices to encouraging
play and experimentation, Kate has envisioned a new cyclical way

our economy confunction. In that time, the donut has spread
far and wide. In twenty twenty, Amsterdam announced it would
start embracing the theory of donut economics, along with cities
like Barcelona and Philadelphia. And the donut isn't just trickling
down to borrow a term from economics, It's bubbling up

in communities around the world. Kate's even created a lab,
the Donut Comics Action Lab, to support people turning this
theory into action. So you're in for a sweet treat
of a conversation after the break, Kate Rayworth on how
we build an economy that works for the people and

the planet. Kate Rayworth, Welcome to How to Citizen. Hi.
It's a big, big pleasure to be here. I'm really delighted.
I'm very very much looking forward to this conversation. All right,
so I want to dive in right off the bat.

What is doughnut economics. So the first thing I'm going
to completely disappoint you. There was no pastry involved, just misdirection,
false advertising, the classic neoliberal economic thinking already. Yeah, See,
the best donuts are conceptual. It's just about the shape.
So if we put it in the simplest of terms,

we need to meet the needs of all people in
the means of the living planet. So imagine a donut
with a hole in the middle, and think of humanity's
use of earth resources radiating out from the scent of
the donut in every direction. So that means that the
hole in the donut is a place where people are
left falling short on the essentials of life. It's the
place where people do not want to be because you

don't have the resources to have good healthcare and education,
decent housing, energy, food, clean air. You don't have political voice, income,
access to transport, right, the essentials of life that ensure
that everybody has a life of dignity, community, an opportunity.
So leave no one in the hole, and then there's

a big butt as we collectively seek to meet the
needs and some of the wants of people. We use
ours resources. We transform land to grow food, We withdraw
water from lakes and rivers, We burn fossil fuels, we
cut forests, we take fish from the sea. We start
to put pressure on our planetary home. And so just
as we want to leave no one in the all,

we also don't want to overshoot the outer crust of
this donut. Because the outer crust is what's known as
the planetary boundaries, and these are the life supporting systems
of our planetary home. Like if you think of your body,
our bodies have a digestive system and nerveless system, and
we need to keep all of these systems imbalance in
health working together. So our planet has the same She

has a carbon cycle, she has nutrient cycles, she has
a web of life, and we need to keep these
imbalance in working well together. So I like to say
to people, what do you think is the shape of
economic progress? Because if you listen to an economist, if
you listen to a politician, the shape apparently is growth endlessly,
no matter how rich nation already is. I'm in the

UK or in the US, we live in two of
the richest countries in the history of humanity, and yet
our economists, our politicians think that the solution to all
of our problems lie in yet more growth, endlessly. There's
no end in sight. Now, there's something utterly absurd about that,
and I think we really need to take seriously what
is the shape of aggress? That is a practical and
delicious metaphor, and it just makes sense. There's a floor

below which we don't want to fall into that inner hole.
There's a ceiling beyond which we risk the whole system. Now,
one of the things you've done in your book is
you've you've highlighted these seven key concepts that are designed
to have us actually build this out. You've got changing
the goalpost and shifting our perspective on what economics actually is.

You've got things like designing to redistribute. So can you
give an overview of what these concepts are and how
you landed on these seven So I first sketched this
doughnut on a little scrap of paper that you do
ten years ago, okay, and I was working at OXFAM
at the time when we published this discussion paper, Like
you know, well, this is an interesting idea, and it
had way more resonance in the world and traction with

people than I had possibly imagined. It was clear that
really help people empower themselves in debate about saying this
is a vision of an economy, and now I can
advocate for really different policies, and I feel strengthened in that.
So if we put this as the goal of what
they want the economy to be, then it invites this
really exciting question what kind of economy would actually help

get us there? And it was really clear to me
that what I didn't want to do is try and
come up with a list of policies because that's not
going to be relevant across countries, and who knows what
crisis might be around the corner and what might happen next.
So what I wanted to do is put forward a
set of principles. So the subtitle of my book is
seven Ways to Think like a twenty first century economist,
and that was really important. It was not claiming to

have defined the answer, but it's like ways to think.
What if we become systems thinkers, which just means we
understand that things have feedback loops, right, What if we
recognize we live in an have inherited in economic system
that's deeply divisive through legislation, through privilege, through inheritance captures
value and opportunity in the hands of a few. So

how could we make a distributive economy in all the
different ways you could do that? To bring it close
home right to how to citizen? What if we would
to realize that the character of humanity put the center
of economic theories gives us the most narrow version of
who we are, and we actually need to nurture the
very best of human nature and we imagine ourselves. Where

these principles came from first was so I studied economics
at university, right, and I was like thirty years ago,
and I was really frustrated because the issues I cared
about social justice, environmental integrity just was on the margins
of the syllabus and you had to kind of beg
and knock on the door and try and reframe them
to make them even show up in economics. And when

I came back to economics many many years later, I
then read all the economics I had never been taught.
So I read feminist economics, ecological economics, complexity, institutional behaviorally
comes and there are amazing ideas there, and I wanted
to bring them together and get them to dance on
the same page. So I'm just starting by recognizing that
what I'm doing is really celebrating the work of many

diverse elders economics elders and people who would never have
called themselves economists but have hugely influenced these ideas. So
in one way, it's a stretch, and yet the ideas
go back a long way. Regenerative thinking goes back in
Western tradition, it goes back decades. In other cultural traditions,
it goes back millennia. So is it a stretch or

is it a term I sometimes think of donate economics
is a bit of a Western mindset recovery program. Instead
of twelve steps, it's seven ways. Because you can't just
appropriate an indigenous culture's wisdom and say, oh, well, we'll
just take that, thank you very much, to make that us.
You have to find your own way towards the wisdom

that it already frets. I think, yeah, this new way
of being, a new way of thinking, it sounds really optimistic,
it sounds really beautiful. And when we talk about redistribution
and collaboration, I'm like, oh, that sounds a one more socialist,
but it's not totally a socialist thing you're proposing. Where

does this live in the tradition? And how have you
seen people willing to break our own sense of imagination
because it sounds so different from the way we're used
to conceiving of ourselves. Actually, funny enough, when I came
to the US in twenty seventeen, where my book first
came out, I was surprised by how quickly people go, oh,
zero communists, that's what we do here. That's what we
do here. It's a very binary world. Your weather's here

against as your capitalist your common Yeah, I know, now,
I know. So what I aim to do in the
book and in the way I present these ideas, if
we just kind of push those old isms aside, because
we quickly talk past each other. If five people say capitalism,
I'll bet you they don't have common definition. If they
say socialism, they don't become And I like using a
newer language, which is, we've inherited the degenerative world, we

need to make it regenerative. We've inherited a divisive world,
we need to make it distributive. Now, what kind of
economy would have half a chance of bringing about these dynamics.
And so far I've found that people just go farther
with you and engage more in it without having to
put on a big label. Thank you for that. There's
one of your ways and your method about nurturing human nature.

And some of what we've been taught is that human
nature is selfish, purely self interested. We are these rational
economic actors out to optimize our financially measurable potential in
the marketplace of everything, whether it's food or ideas, or
labor or love even And so you're proposing and reminding.

I would even say, in terms of the vision of return,
that we can be wired and are for cooperation, mutual aid,
and empathy. And that's very much in line with how
we see citizen as a verb here. Once we remember, right,
once we're prompted with this other vision of how we
can be, how do we bake that back into the economics,

because the way our economic system is built only recognizes
this little slice of how we show up. First of all,
I was really fascinated when I was writing the chapter
in my book about Nurture Human Nature to read economists
who had done research on what effect it has on
students when they're taught the model of humanity at the

center of mains to economics. So first, the character, as
you just said, is rational economic man, and he's never
actually drawn in the textbooks. But once I drawn the
donut and I'd realized the pa of pictures, I drew
a little picture of him, you know, on toilet doors.
There's kind of men's women to that little man who stand,
so I took that the icon. Yeah, so he looks
like that. He's a man. He's got no dependence. He's

not raising kids. He's standing alone. He's got his own
opinions and he's an independent, thank you very much. He's
got money in his hand, he's holding a dollar sign.
He's got ego in his heart, says me, on his chest.
He's got a calculator in his head. He's constantly calculating
the prices and the opportunity costs. He knows prices forwards
and backwards and everywhere in the future. And he's got

nature at his feet. You can imagine him standing, you know,
on a pinnacle of the living world domain beneath him. Yeah,
and that is essentially the character that gets written into
the equations and into the models. Now, researchers like Robert
Frank and others in the US found that the more
that students are told that he is like us, we

actually become more like him. So from year one to
year two Tier three of their studies, over time, students
more say economic students more say they value competition over collaboration,
They value self interest over altruism. This is what it
means to be a good economic player. Now that's devastating.
We create this narrow caricature and then students actually start

to mimic him. So who we tell ourselves we are
shapes who we become. It's predicated on that lonely man
theory of the world, which is we need growth to
provide opportunity. That opportunity will come at the expense of
the planet. That's just that's what we know how to do,

and we can't. We can't meet everyone's needs and not
also throw the planet into some disarray. It's impossible, Kate,
to meet everyone's needs and not like there's eight billion people.
That's a lot of needs, does it scale? I can
see someone saying okay on a farm in Vermont, cool cool, cool,

and an old indigenous community that's agriculturally based. Okay, okay,
But we got eight billion people who want their iPhones,
want their conveniences, want their meals to show up ten
minutes before they order them. How are we gonna satisfy
all of those needs and still maintain a balance ecologically

on this planet the way you defined it? Oh? Okay, Right,
So first of all you said everyone needs, but then
you said, like, you're gonna have an iPhone and my
meal is going to be at the door with delivery room,
and it's going to have mothers around everyone. It's going
to have my favorite kind of anti vite. So let's
just step So, what are our needs right as humanity?

And we've had a long conversation about this internationally. Let's
go back to night the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
It's been going on and on. So we recognize that
every person on this earth has a claim to food
and water, and education and healthcare and shelter. Right, So
there are essential rights, there are essential needs that need

to be met so that we have the capability to
have dignity to participate as an active citizen in society.
And I agree to have opportunities you just said now,
right now, the richest one percent of people in the
world own half of the world's wealth. So I don't
think we can take right now as a good indicator

of whether or not we can do this, because this
is a crazy starting point. Yeah, I think there's such
an opportunity to say, how are we going to meet
everyone's needs? How are we going to with appropriate technologies
and smart solutions, And there are such great ways you
can do it. Let me give an example. We need
to use fresh water to grow food. Now, historically we've

done that with spray irrigation, Like you just have these
hoses spraying all over fields and it does massive waste
of water. Take the same hose and you punch little
holes and you have drip irrigation, precision irrigation. You can
grow so much more food with the same amount of water,
or the same amount of food with so much less water.
So technology and governance and public provisioning and smart design

enables us to do so much more with few resources.
And then the economic question is a layout back, what
kind of economy will bring those technologies into existence and
make sure that they're accessible to walk And then I'm
going to go back for the very first thing you
said in that question. He said, we need growth to
have opportunity. I don't. I don't know. I think we
need opportunity to have opportunity. And it seems like a
lot of the growth that's been going on in the

world is giving a few very rich white men a
lot of opportunity, but many, many other people are losing
opportunity of it. So I don't at all think that
growth is tied that. I don't see evidence that growth
as we know it is tied to opportunity. Years ago,
I saw a man speak named al Noor Lada, and

he talked about infinite economic growth in the context of
biology and said, you know, when we have cells that
grow infinitely without end, by definition, that's malignantly cancerous and
it destroys the host. But when we design that into
our economy, we aspire to that. Yet the evidence is
that we're destroying the host. And so there is something

not sane about the pursuit of infinite growth. So I
want to dig into the lab, the donut economics action lab.
It sounds so profound and kind of silly at the
same time. So what is it and how did it
come about? So I see myself first and foremost as
an advocate. And when I was working at oxfand that

was when I drew this donut and the reaction to
it was amazing, and I had a realization that the
best next act of advocacy I can do in the
world is to actually leave my job here and go
and write a book. And I published the book, and
I was just giving lots and lots of talks, and
after talk people will come up to me and say,

I love the book, and I'm doing this. I'm a teacher.
It's not on the curriculum, but this is what I
know my students need to learn anything. Damn, I love that.
Teacher counselor's mayor starting getting such how can I do
this in my town? Can I do this my city? Entrepreneurs?
I'm taking this into my meeting community members like, wow,
people aren't doing this. They started making funny glasses in

the shape of donuts. What would the world look like
through donut lenses? What would the world look like through
donut lenses? Delicious? And how did that feel? Key to
see people engaging with the donut on that level. It
still amazes me. I still have to do that Is
this really happening? Is this really happening? Am I sitting
in the European Union in a very formal assembly of

people called donuts for EU? But also it was a
wonderful affirmation that it wasn't a completely crazy thing to
call it dont economics, because some people say, this is
a very serious model. We're talking about the future of
life on Earth. How could you name it after American
junk food? Okay? And I know, and I'm sorry, and
I tell the doctors. You know, I say to people promised,
don't eat donuts. This is the only one that's good

for us. But the unexpected benefit of giving it this
name is that, you know, a lot of people are
intimidated by economics or disinterested or walk away if you say,
I'm an economist. But no one's afraid of donuts. You
might love them or hate them, but you're not afraid.
And it just tells you this is a playful space.
And so people showed up and started playing Yeah. So

I realized, gosh, this is really exciting. People are starting
to do it. To find a way to bring them together.
So I found a fabulous co founder called Carlotta Sam
and I thought I don't want to make the donut institute.
That just sounds heavy and ridiculous. But when I thought
of an action lab, suddenly it felt really light and playful,

and it just it really works, because yes, it's all
about action. You know, I really believe that twenty first
century economics is going to be practiced first and theorized later,
the theories following, but the practitioners are running way ahead.
And it's a lab because every practice is an experiment.
It's an experiment popping up in the middle of an
old system, and not all of them will succeed and breakthrough.

So what does it mean for a city to adapt
the donut? For example, in Amsterdam, what changed because they said,
we want to be a donut city. Great question. So
the city of Amsterdam wanted back in twenty twenty nineteen,
wanted to introduce a policy committing to become a circular city,
meaning that it would be a city where sources don't

get used up and thrown away, that they get used
again and again. And they told us, you know, we
were beginning to think about kind of creating a circle
economy in a very technical materials way, and we gradually
realize it's not just about material flows. It's about people,
it's about jobs, it's about social equity, it's about transforming
how we live as well. So they adopted the donut

as like the vision level of their policy. The aim
is for Amsterdam to be a thriving, inclusive, regenerative city
for all residents within planetary boundaries. And they followed up
with goals, so saying, we aim to be a circular
city by twenty fifty. And I love that. That's like

Kennedy the mood shot. Right, we're going to get to them,
and we don't know how we're going to get there.
The point is to figure it out by trying, but
to be fifty percent circle by twenty thirty. They've given
themselves that goal. Now that's that's more exciting to me
because it's within seven years now and that's a significant shift.
So they had these ambitions and then they said, right,

we're going to start exploring this through housing and construction,
through textiles who knew Amsterdam is a denim hotspot, and
through food and said, let's start experimenting in these areas.
For example, in the city, there's one district where every
building that's built there has to be a circular building,
which means it's made of materials that have been or

can be or will be reused and reusable, and that
just changes the way architects design. When the regulations were
first introduced, at first it's like, you know, more rules,
But then they said, once we actually took into account
what would it mean to design in a circular way,
you suddenly find you're at the forefront of your field
and you're surrounded by cities like yourself who are going

to need to do this too. And suddenly you find
yourself at the front and that you're going to be
able to teach and get contracts and skills and spread
that information to others. So one interesting thing that's happened
is the city Amsterdam have had elections, right and in fact,
the person who was really known as the champion of
bringing the donut into the city of Amsterdam, she wasn't reelected.
So you think, oh, is this going to die now?

But there are new city politicians elected at politicians and
civil servants working within the city who are committed to it,
and that's been really interesting for us to see. I'll
say one more thing about amsterdamn When I first was
going there in like twenty seventeen, twenty eighteen, when my
book first came out. The places I was going were
public halls and theaters in the city center, the kind

of the place where all the tourists go, and I
was getting talks in front of an audience. And last
time I went, I was out in two of the
neighborhoods where tourists never go. Lower income neighborhoods are really
truly multicultural neighborhoods in community centers, working on the nitty
gritty of how is this market going to reduce the
waste that's generated here every day when we sell tons

of fruit. It was a beautiful experience of this idea
has landed and that's a really symbolic mark. Yeah, and
I should say the city government of adoptive. But what's
really exciting as well, coming back to how to citizen,
a whole network of community organizations in Amsterdam said, well,
we can see that what we're already doing is helping

bring our city into the donuts. So they created the
Amsterdam Donut Coalition, which is a civic network, and they
every year whole Amsterdam Donut Days saying how are we doing?
I love the way you're smiling. That's the way a
smile is like, is that is really happening? There's a
what it's just it's called donut. Who can be mad?
You know what I mean? Like if it's socialism Day,

you're going to draw a line in the sand, and
then some people will be very excited and some people
will be very annoyed. But it's donut Day, which is
just like a great sugary trojan horse for kind of
new ideas to find their way in. I'm glad you
went to the coalition because I think the impetus for
the first example, it sounded top down, like the government declared,

the mayor, you know, the city leader said we want
them to be and it kind of to borrow another
old economic we have thinking trickle down to the people,
but you also have folks in community. It sounds like
bubbling these things up. And so, in terms of whatever
you've seen in the US, are there other ways that
people have taken bites of the donut and implemented them

in their neighborhood, community, city levels that give us even
further ideas of what that change actually looks like. And
it's new in the US, it's been happening, even though
donuts is our thing, even though oh there's so much
to kin, there's so much you have a National Donut Day.
I mean, I just can't wait till you know national

whole other meaning no. So in the US, right where
you are, there's CALDEC California Donut Economics Coalition, And in fact,
they were one of the first groups to form when
we launched Donate Economics. So it's a group of volunteers
who just joined our community on our platform don't Economics.
Anyone could just join to be a member with got

a map, who's nearly Oh look there's fifteen people. Wow, wow,
let's connect. Or they can post an event saying hi,
as these guys did, Hi, We're in California, anybody else
out there? Should we get together online? What do we
want to do together? So they got together and they
want to change the narrative about the economy. What is
a thriving economy in California? To make visible ongoing projects

because again, like in Amsterdam, there's so much already happening.
We can weep over what's going wrong in our economies
and we can point to what's already in motion and
help piece together those many fragments of a new next economy.
They're emerging. If we make them visible, we get more
of a sense of it. And then I'm going to
jump to another one, which is in North Carolina, So

the Swanna Noah Watershed. Many of these groups are forming
around a city or a town or a state, and
this is one that's formed like a bioregion, formed around
a watershed, which is profoundly natural. And so they've come together.
They said, Yeah, working with nature is telling us the boundaries,
not where some colonial with append or a nice straight line.

And this is your about no nature saying this is
a watershed, so this is a coherent ecosystem, right, So
how do we restore the ecosystem of this place and
respect the health of the whole planet? Yeah, and how
do we bring about social justice in this place? They
are showing through solar projects, through tiny homes, through get
out the vote, through investing in minority enterprises, moving capital

to people who have been historically marginalized from it. So
it's wonderful to see it. It's just starting in the use.
There's a lot more have been happening in Europe, and
I think it's great proof of the power of peers
per inspiration. So like when Amsterdam began, within six weeks
Copenhagen City Council said what we want some of that,
we're going to do that. People are inspired by people
like themselves. They can see themselves in that story. The

idea of seeing yourself in the story, and even the
examples you've shared, you know, we're in a season where
the story has been about inflation, has been about promises
of growth and a certain narrow view of what economic
life looks or feels like. Do you have or have
people who've picked up this approach, Do they have a

narrative strategy as well, in terms of working with media
to tell different economic stories that kind of recognize more
of our humanity, not just this rational man we're all
hiding inside and letting drive the vehicles of our lives.
How important is that work? And have you seen people
explicitly say we have to talk differently too and journalistically

cover this differently? So much so those two The first
one is the growth narrative, and people often say, well,
can't we growth is good, so can't we just reclaim
growth and say want something else to grow? And I
don't agree with that, because I very much agree with
what you said earlier. In nature, nothing succeeds by trying

to grow forever. And if within our own bodies something
tries to grow, we understand that as cancer and we
go very quiet. So why can't we take from our
bodily understanding to our human body, to our planetary body
that same understanding in nature in our children. In the
plants we grow, things grow, and then they grow up,

and that's what means they mature. Like I have fourteen
year old teenagers, right, they're both now taller than me.
They've been growing two inches a year, and in fact,
this is the first year they grew slightly less than
two inches, because they're starting to top Yeah, few, is that?
Thank you very much? Few? Because if they carried on
growing two inches a year, like people want the economy
to grow two percent a year. And by the way,
that compounds, my kids aren't compounding. They're just two inches,

they would literally within a decade they could not come
in my home, literally and metaphorically, they would not belong
in my home. They could not sit at my table.
They would be monstrous. So things that we care about
and love, we want to see them grow. Yes, it's
a wonderful, healthy phase of life, but then they must
grow up. So for me, it's really important to reframe

that and to talk about thriving that is health. But
can I come back to the other one about who
we are? Right? So, economics, when it's taught, they say,
welcome to economics. Here's the plan and demand, here's the market, right,
and it puts the market in our vision, which means
we're immediately who we are is consumers or producers, were
either shopping or working, or shopping or working or shopping

or working. Right, But then let's think of ourselves in
relation to not just the market, but in the state.
And in relation to the state, we may be a
public servant, a teacher, a doctor, regulator. You may be
a resident or a citizen, a voter, a protest all
crucial roles that we can play in relation to the state,
and we should recognize that we inhabit all of these,

but just this marketing state. That's the sort of twentieth
century ideological boxing match of economics, and most economics goes like,
are you a free market let's say, fair capitalist or
your state's loving socialist? You commit you right, and it's
so boring, and it completely misses two other fundamental ways
that we provision for our needs and wants. It's not

just through the market, it's not just through public goods.
Let's start where we all start every day in the household.
That's the space of unpaid care. That's where we may
be a parent, a partner, a relative, a child, caring
free each other. Our children are parents, sometimes both. This
is the place of the cooking, washing and cleaning, sweeping,
raising the kids. And that's traditionally the domain of women,

and it's traditionally unpaid and underrecognized and overexploited. And so
we must also name that space the space of care.
And the fourth one I want to add the commons
right where we get together, not through the market, not
through the state, but as a community. We come together
and we co create goods and services that we value.
And it might be a neighborhood garden on the corner

of your block, it might be Wikipedia, it might be
a singing group, a reading group. And it's not a
free for all. We follow rules together. There are norms
of how we behave, and if you don't behave, you'll
be told off or punished. Or you might even be
told to leave. So I often show these four forms.
There's the market and the state, and the household and
the commons, and I invite people just to describe themselves.

What have you done today? Oh, I've been a consumer
because I bought something. I'm a producer here, I am
at work. I'm a parent and a child actually I
called my mom. And I've been in the commons because
I'm going to my singing group tonight. And I've been
a voter and a resident. Wow, I'm weaving through all
these identities all the time, So I think it's so
important to name them and then ask ourselves what kind

of values and norms underpin each one of those different ways.
But if the journalism about the economy solely focuses on
the one quarter of our presence as members of a market,
that members of a state, not members of a household,
and members of a commons, then it's actually that complete journalism. Yeah,

for us as practitioners of just living people, it's kind
of looked back over the week. Was I good member
of the commons this week? It was I could remember
my household this week? And not merely you know, we
have this end of your tax ritual. But do we
have an end of your commons ritual? And if your
state rich or and if your household ritual. So there's
just there's new practices that emerge in new ways of

talking and writing, and videograms have to jump in. I
love the idea that you're like, oh, I've done my
tax return. Oh but I haven't done my commentary. Yeah,
but but doing your commons return should be a celebration, right, Yes,
I need to return to the commons. Right, I did
my tax return, but I'm gonna return to the comments.
Yeah that I'm gonna want like four donut days a year.
It's a quarterly celebration after the break. Kate Rayworth on

a time when the donut didn't quite pan out? Are
there places where donut economics didn't quite work the way
you'd hoped it would as someone tried to implement some
piece of it. No one has ever asked me before good. Yeah,
So what did happen quite early on was a lot

of businesses so, oh, we would love to be a
donut business, or we think we are doing a business.
Can we be a don a business? Can we put
that on a website? And I just thought, whoa, this
could get greenwashed, very married donut washing. Yeah, donut washing.
So we actually closed the space for business for a
long time because we didn't want it to be done

in a way. We thought, oh, that's not what we
had in mind, because if it gets donut washed and greenwashed,
then the concept gets really denigrated for many people. Yeah,
and there's a lot of incentive for a business, as
we've seen with d EI work, as we've seen with
climate friendly and carbon zero, net zero sustainable. Yes, of

an organic to some degree, Yes it's pr but it
doesn't reflect the practices underneath. So are you still in
that posture of businesses can't really brand themselves as donut
businesses or or where are you now? Oh, we're definitely
in a place that you can't brand yourselves as donut
business But what we are in and now is we've
been working with a group of companies over the last

year and a half and we've created at all and
we welcome any company to use it internally and explore it.
So we say, but if you want to talk about
your business and the donut, please don't come out and
say you're a donut business. But we invite you to
tell us. And this is where we focus on the
deep design of your business because here's the thing. We
think that in the twenty first century, the most important

design is not going to be the design of your products.
I mean that really matters, right, whether it's made from
regenerative and sustainable materials, whether it's ethical in its supply chain,
and its payment and care of everybody who was involved
in making that product. But what really matters beyond the
design of the products is the design of the business itself.
So number one, what is its purpose? Why does it

even exist? What is it in service of in the
world too? How does it network? So all the relationships
with its employees, it's supplies, customers, its industry, allies in government.
Does it live out its purpose through its networks or
are they quite exploitative? Three? How is it governed? Who
is in the room when decisions are made, who has
voice in those decisions making? What are the metrics of

success and how a middle managers incentivized? Does it really
line up? And how does it reflect your purpose? And
now we're going deeper. So we've gone purpose networks, governors.
Now we go deep to ownership. How is this company
owned Is it owned by the employees, by a founding entrepreneur,
by a family for three hundred years. Is it owned
by venture capital, by shareholders, by the state as a cooperative.

Because all these different ownership models take us to the
fifth one, how is it financed? Where is the money
coming from and what is that money expecting and demanding
and extracting. How much of the profits are we invested
in your purpose and how much are taken out for
the owners of the company. Now, if we take these
five design trates of purpose, networks, governance, ownership, and finance,

it tells us so much about what any company can
be and do in the world. You've mentioned tools twice now,
once with regard to businesses that want to have this
deep internal design, and another for cities or communities that
want to roll these out. Do these tools have more
specific names or places we can find them. I just
want to make sure that our listeners know where to

go to find these and so they can start using them. Yes.
So the tool for cities and places, it's a tool
called Donut Unrolled and it's on our platform at donut
economics dot org. Oh, it's that English spelling dug h
and ut so Donut Economics dot org and then for companies,
it's a new tool called Donut Design for Business, also

on our platform. So let's imagine a world where we've
unrolled donuts all across the planet and businesses are more
deeply and conscientiously designed to allow us to thrive within
these boundaries. How does the world operate then? And I'm
thinking of practical things like do we still have a
stock market? Are credit cards products that we know and

use on a regular basis? Do we have poverty in
this future? Down that world? There's a three great questions,
So I'm going to go in reverse order. We don't
have poverty because by definition, no one is falling short
on the essentials of life. No one is left in
that hole. So we have figured out a way to
provision for the essential needs of everyone. But the other

thing you said, it's really interesting. You said, I'm going
to go for some basics like will we be using
credit cards? And will there be a stock market? You
kind of put your finger right on it. What does
this mean for finance? Yeah, finance is designed the moment
with an inbuilt expectation and demand for a return. It's
designed completely different to everything else on this living planet, which,

because of the second law of thermodynamics, deteriorates, dies, rots rusts.
But money, money accumulates undestly, and there's a deep I mean,
I can't answer your question as a super practical level
because I don't know, but I can answer it at
a big existential level. What would mean for money to

be designed so that it actually worked with the cycles
of the living world rather than how this utterly opposite
design was expected to accumulate endlessly. And it's a really
big question, and I wish this is what students in
business schools and in economics departments were grappling with rather
than just taking well, of course, the design of money
is this way, and shareholders expectations and needs it that way,

and so we need businesses that cut those corners to
meet them. So we need to flip it on its head.
How does money come in service to life rather than
life serving money? I am very glad you name that.
It's something that I have conversations about in my own
house with my partner Elizabeth, who's an EP on this show,
and a company that wants to do good. But so
I had to exit to the markets. Is going to

be pulled in a direction and finance that bottom layer
that you shared. Even in terms of business design, where
does the money come from? If we practiced more donut economics,
how could that help us citizen? How could that support
small d democracy in ways that help us thrive? Dont
economics will make us remember every day that I move

in the market, and in the state, and in the household,
in the commons. So yeah, maybe a customer and I'm
a career and a child, and I'm a commoner, and
I need to develop all the values and skills and
attributes to do well in all of these So it
makes me care about these different ways too. So don't
economics brings us to this question of distributive design. So

how can we create that rich life of democratic engagement,
democratic enterprise, and democratic design of the places we live?
How can we ensure that we invest in the health
and education opportunity of every person? And donuts help us
answer those questions. I love it. Thank you. If you
were called on as you were about to be, to
define citizen as a verb, what would it mean to you?

How would you define it? I would say be an action.
You know sometimes people say to me, oh, I love
your optimism, and I'm like, I didn't say that, And actually,
don't be an optimist if that makes you relax. Oh
we've got this sorted. People from ingenious, we're inventive. Stop worrying.
No no, no, no, no, it's not going to get sort.
But also, don't be a pessimist if it makes you
give up, and it makes you say it's too late,

and it's too hardware, too many, it's too unequal, it's
too difficult, because by giving up, you'll make it true. Yeah,
be in action. And to me, when I hear that
word citizen, I think it calls us into actions. So
just ask yourself, how do I travel and eat and
bank and keep my home? And how do I invest
and diverst and protest and volunteer, and how do I inspire?

And how do I tell to me? That is how
to citizen? Right on, Kate Rayworth, You've been fantastic. Thank you.
It was one thing to watch you do the Ted talk.
It's another to engage more directly with you. And I'm
so glad to see how far these ideas have come
since I saw you share them on that stage, and
that people are unrolling the doughnut all over the world.

We're going to shift to our live audience QNA, and
I've got to start there. You are welcome to the stage,
brother Wesley, get to see you. Tell us your name,
where you're at geographically, if you're cool sharing, and go
ahead and hit us with your comment end or question.
My name's Wesley Faulkner. I'm currently in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.
My question is that if we move to a more interconnected, circular,

multiple beneficiary economy, we're not all altruistic. Some of us
don't necessarily feel that they need to give as well
as received, and so they try to hoard. What is
your enforcement models? And if there is like a rogue
actor in this web of interconnective economies, how does it
self heal or how does it repair? Well, that's a

great question, and the first thing it makes me think
of Wesley's You know, people always say make sure you
don't design for your five percent of fears, that you
design for the ninety five percent of possibility. But you
also have to design to make sure that systems don't
get co opted or free ridden or abused by that,
because that will undermine the whole. So it's not about creating,

for example, businesses and enterprises that are just altruistic and
always really really nice and doing good. It's about structuring
them and designing them so that there are boundaries that
prevent us from giving into that worst attribute. I suppose
we can design to lock ourselves in, to force ourselves
to be free, as Jean Jacques Rousseau would say, were

forced to be free because we've designed out the possibility
of giving into our weak moment of cashing the whole
thing in. And I think this is the frontier of
enterprise design. Like Patagonia, many people know it's no longer
owned by the founder who could have one day said
our heck, it's been fun, but I'm just going to
cash it all in. Now now created steward ownership, where

now it's held by an organization that locking in the
mission and ensuring that's how and that's totally separated from
dividend right. So I think we can design enterprises that
hold us to the best standards that we wanted to
hold ourselves into. I'm going to share a question on
behalf of someone. This is Sarah Hughes, who asks which
applications of donut economics give you the most cause for hope.

So the number one thing that goes to me cause
for hope is just that amazing creativity that bubbles up
the connections. That ingenuity and creativity and persistence of people
to keep on reimagining. That thrills me. Kate, You've been
very generous with your answers, your thoughtfulness, and of course
your time. You're helping liberate us from a pretty narrow existence.

Very grateful for it. Thanks for playing with us, Thanks
for dancing with these donuts with us. Really appreciate your time,
your contributions and helping us citizen. Thank you so much,
and bring on next National Doughnut Day. Yes, let's do
that one. Let's do that one. I just love how

Kate and the Donut Economics Action Lab are open ended
in their reproach. They create tools and offer support, but
at the end of the day, they trust the people
on the ground. Remember Adrian Marie Brown in our very
first episode this season, trust the people and they become trustworthy.
I feel like Kate's doing that. We've been talking this
season about building a culture of democracy, a dope for it,

and I don't think we can do that without also
changing the economic environment that creates that culture. So much
of what we take as day to day is driven
by economic interests. So let's change those interests. Let's make
them sweeter. And now it's time for some actions. As always,

you can find these at how to citizen dot com
and we've rouped them into three categories. First up, internal reflection.
Can you live a circular donut life? I want you
to identify what you truly need to live and then
what you need to thrive. Do you have those needs
met right now? What would you do with your time

and your energy if you didn't feel the need to
earn and spend more year after year? Next category, become
more informed. Let's digest some donuts. I want you to
check out Kate's Ted talk from twenty eighteen, which I
got to experience live. It's amazing. Also read her book

Donut Economics, Seven Ways to Think like a twenty first
century Economist. It's available in our online bookstore at bookshop
dot org, slash shop slash how to Citizen, and some
of those proceeds they support local independent bookshops. So we're
trying to be circular ourselves, all right. Our last category,
publicly participate. Let's find or start some donuts near us.

I want us all to go to the Donut Economics
action Lab community at www dot donut economics dot org.
That's dug in ut now. They've got all sorts of
things on this site. A membership map which shows groups
or networks near you that you can join. For Rust
in California, it's cal Deck. But you can also do

other things like read firsthand experiences from people all over
the world who are putting the donut into practice. If
you don't see something close to you, start an event
or an action in your area, put it on the
map yourself and check out the tools Kate mentioned Donut
Unrolled and Donut Designed for Business. Will link them in
the show notes. If you take any of these actions,

please brag about it online and use the hashtag how
to Citizen. Also tag our Instagram how do Citizen. I
am always online and I really do see your messages,
so send them. You can also visit our website howard
is citizen dot com, which has all of our shows,
full transcripts, actions, and more. Finally, see this episode show

notes for resources, actions, and more ways to connect. How
to Citizen with barrettun Day is a production of iHeartRadio
Podcasts and Row Home Productions. Our executive producers are Me
barrettun Day Thurston and Elizabeth Stewart. Our lead producer is
Ali Graham, Our associate producer is Donia abdel Hamid. Alex

Lewis is our managing producer, and John Myers is our
executive editor. Our mix engineer is Justin Berger. Original music
by Andrew Eapen with additional music by Blue Dot Sessions,
and our audience engagement fellows are Jasmine Lewis and Gabbie Rodriguez.
Special thanks to Joel Smith from iHeartRadio and Leila Biena.

Next time on how to Citizen Kate's theory of donut
economics pushes the bounds of our imagination. It asks us
to play an experiment with new ways of being and
new ways of relating to each other. Our next guest
taps into that same energy, but this time in the
context of technology. We are, in many ways living in

a eugenics imagination, a techno utopian imagination. We're living in
imagination not of our own design, and so imaginations can
be corrupting and limiting. And we don't have to wait
to be billionaires to be able to create something new.
Ruha Benjamin Princeton Professor and founding director of the Ida B.

Wells Just Data Lab on how justice begins with imagination,
Row home productions
Advertise With Us

Popular Podcasts

Dateline NBC
Stuff You Should Know

Stuff You Should Know

If you've ever wanted to know about champagne, satanism, the Stonewall Uprising, chaos theory, LSD, El Nino, true crime and Rosa Parks, then look no further. Josh and Chuck have you covered.

The Nikki Glaser Podcast

The Nikki Glaser Podcast

Every week comedian and infamous roaster Nikki Glaser provides a fun, fast-paced, and brutally honest look into current pop-culture and her own personal life.

Music, radio and podcasts, all free. Listen online or download the iHeart App.


© 2024 iHeartMedia, Inc.