Doughnut Economics

Like so many others who suffered the dispiriting experience of studying economics at  A Level (or even worse, at university), I had to plough through reams of economic diagrams in the standard textbooks like Samuelson’s dreary tome, writes Sean Thompson. The central image in mainstream economics is the circular flow diagram. It depicts a closed flow of income cycling between households, businesses, banks, government and trade, operating in a social and ecological vacuum. There is, according to received neo-classical wisdom, no reason for that closed system not to go on and on in endless equilibrium.

 

According to Kate Raworth, in her book Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think like a 21st Century Economist, there’s only one problem with the circular flow diagram: it’s wrong. Energy, materials, the natural world, human society, power, the wealth we hold in common, all are missing from the model. The unpaid work of carers – principally women – is ignored, though no economy could function without them. Like rational economic man, this representation of economic activity bears little relationship to reality.

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For regulations with teeth

The Labour Party’s consultation document, A Greener Britain, seeks proposals about different aspects of environmental policy. In this series of articles, Redgreenlabour supporters offer their thoughts. Please comment on these contributions which the authors may well revise and submit to the consultation in due course.
We also urge you to submit your own responses to the Party – whether as individuals or through your branches, CLPs, unions, SERA or other environmental groups. The deadline is 24th June.

Q: How should environmental rules and regulations be adapted for the future?

The Tory government claims it is committed to leaving the environment in a ‘better state’ after Brexit than it is now. It says that its EU Withdrawal Bill will ‘ensure that the whole body of existing EU environmental law continues to have effect’, writes Sean Thompson. But, as currently drafted, the bill will leave our environment less well protected than it is now.

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A tale of two power stations

Photo: Ahoy Polloi

The irrationality of current energy policy in Britain is nowhere currently better demonstrated than on the two sides of the Bristol Channel, writes Sean Thompson. On the English side, at Hinkley Point in Somerset, a new nuclear power station is being built, while on the Welsh coast the proposed construction of the ground breaking Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon is being blocked by the Tory Government in Westminster.

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A new relationship between the Greens and Labour?

Owen Jones’s recent suggestion that the Green Party should negotiate the same relationship with the Labour Party as that enjoyed by the Co-op Party seems to have hugely upset many Green Party members, writes Sean Thompson. What most Greens seem not to have noticed is that Jones was not proposing some sort of vague electoral pact with Labour, as the Green Party sort of proposed at the last election, but a whole new formal partnership between Labour and the Greens that could see its joint leader in a future Labour cabinet.

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