Create to Regenerate

“Ecological degradation is not a luxury concern for countries to leave on one side until they are rich enough to give it their attention,” says Kate Raworth. What would be the steps toward an economy regenerative by design?

This post belongs to a reading series of Doughnut Economics by Kate Raworth. For quick access to all chapters, please click here.

Disclaimer: This chapter summary is personal work and an invitation to read the book itself for a detailed view of all the author’s ideas.

The usual narrative in circles of power is that GDP growth is the best asset countries can have to mitigate environmental degradation. Kate Raworth summarizes it this way: “First, as countries grow, they argued, their citizens can afford to start caring about the environment and so begin to demand higher standards; second, the nation’s industries can afford to start using cleaner technologies; and third, those industries will shift from manufacturing to services, swapping smoke stacks for call centres.”

Unfortunately, none of these steps make sense. 1/ Why would citizens have to wait for sufficient GDP growth to enjoy their basic right to clean air and clean water? 2/ Governments and corporations lack the incentive to do anything on these fronts until they are forced to by the citizenry.1 3/ Shifting from manufacturing to services is an obvious non-answer since pollution is simply displaced.

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  1. See Torras, M. and Boyce, J.K. (1998) Income, inequality, and pollution: a reassessment of the environmental Kuznets curve, Ecological Economics 25, pp. 147–160.
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