Speech to propose Doughnut Economics in York by Councillor Denise Craghill

How the economy works is crucial for everyone’s basic well being. Money certainly isn’t everything, as they say, but its obvious that if you don’t have enough for the basics, money – and the opportunities to earn money – are pretty crucial. As we all know this is a very stark reality at present for many people in the face of Covid, recession and job losses.

Equally, we all know there are times when some of the things we do in the name of the economy have a negative impact on the environment – whether that is climate change emissions, habitat loss, pollution or resource depletion – and those environmental impacts, in turn can have a huge effect on people’s lives, livelihoods, health and well being.

Basically, we know that there are complicated relationships between economy, environment and society – and this council has already recognised this to some extent through developing the Better Decision Making Tool. However, there is also a fair degree of consensus that our Decision Making Tool could work more effectively and have a wider impact.

The approach to decision making and policy development advocated by Oxford academic Kate Raworth and known as ‘Doughnut Economics’ is currently inspiring a lot of people across the globe. Referred to by some people as ‘a recipe for thriving’ its central idea is built around the inner and outer circles that make up the doughnut – the outer circle being the planetary boundaries or environmental impacts which threaten our future safe existence such as climate change, habitat loss and pollution – and the inner circle being the social foundation – the elements that are required for everyone to have a good life including social equity, political voice, education and the basics such as food, water, health, housing, income and work. The ‘sweet spot’ for humanity – globally and locally – lies between the two circles.

The approach also emphasises the strength of human potential to collaborate – which we have seen a lot of in York during the last year – and suggests that the economy is about more than markets and the state but also about households where a lot of unpaid work is done and about volunteering and community. It’s also about the complexity of these relationships.

So, this motion isn’t asking you to sign up to all this right now – simply to support the proposal that we all learn more about it and consider how it might complement and enrich the work on our Better Decision Making Tool and future policy making. This is a time of great challenge but also an opportunity to embrace the new and innovative ways of working that we need to meet those challenges. Please support the motion.

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