Rethinking the nature of development

The model of human development, as measured by gross domestic product and other economic metrics, is no longer sufficient to guarantee a livable planet or a just society. Inequality is increasing between and within countries, and we have surpassed six of our planetary boundaries. We need to rethink the very nature of development, building models that go beyond GDP, that value nature, that respect planetary boundaries, and that incorporate the wellbeing of all of society. A new emerging economic model called ‘doughnut economics,’ links planetary boundaries to inclusive measures of societal wellbeing.

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Moving Beyond GDP: A Pathway to Wellbeing and Sustainability

  • We must move beyond GDP as a sole measure of economic success, given the inadequacy of GDP in accounting for human well-being, environmental sustainability, and non-market services.
  • We need comprehensive wealth measures, including human, natural, social, produced, and financial capital.
  • We need to accelerate a movement that advocates for political commitments, technical processes, and capacity-building initiatives to establish a new framework and set of indicators, beyond GDP.

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Beyond GDP: US States Have Adopted Genuine Progress Indicators

  • Vermont introduced the Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI) as an alternative to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for measuring economic performance and success.
  • Several US states, including Maryland, Oregon, Washington State, Colorado, and Hawaii, have embraced the GPI and are working on "beyond GDP" metrics.
  • GPI considers factors such as environmental impact, income inequality, energy efficiency, and community involvement to provide a more comprehensive assessment of economic well-being, and it is being used to inform policy and economic development strategies in these states.

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UN Chief Asks Countries to Look Beyond GDP as Measurement of Economic Progress

  • UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for the development of universal and comprehensive measurements to complement GDP as a metric for economic progress.
  • GDP, while important, has limitations as it fails to consider factors like environmental sustainability, unpaid care work, and social inequalities.
  • Guterres proposes a three-step approach: a commitment to a framework that values well-being, life, and reduced inequalities; the creation of alternative indicators by an expert group by March 2024; and increased support to countries for operationalizing these new metrics and monitoring progress on Sustainable Development Goals.

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The Planet’s Economist: Has Kate Raworth Found a Model for Sustainable Living?

  • The article questions the concept of "green growth," highlighting the discrepancy between reducing carbon emissions and the relentless pursuit of economic growth at all costs.
  • Economist Kate Raworth's Doughnut Economics offers an alternative, emphasizing a circular economy that operates within ecological limits, distributing wealth fairly, regenerating resources, and fostering human prosperity without relying on continuous economic growth.
  • The article emphasizes the urgent need for solutions to address rising global carbon emissions, biodiversity loss, and inequality, and introduces Kate Raworth's Doughnut Economics as a proactive model.

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How Amsterdam Uses the Doughnut Economics Model to Create a Balanced Strategy for Both the People and the Environment

  • Amsterdam embraced the "Doughnut Economy" concept in 2020, which aims to balance providing a good quality of life for all while limiting the impact on the environment.
  • The model, created by economist Kate Raworth, features an outer circle representing ecological limits and an inner circle reflecting minimum conditions for a good life, focusing on factors like access to food, clean water, and social equity.
  • Amsterdam adopted this approach as part of its official strategy and is using it to inform city-wide developments, leading to a focus on sustainability in construction projects and increased awareness of social and environmental impacts. Several other cities, including Copenhagen, Brussels, Dunedin, Nanaimo, Portland, and Austin, are also exploring variations of the Doughnut model to address their specific needs and opportunities.

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New Study Shows Earth May Be Past the ‘Safe Operating Space’ For Humanity

  • A new study updates the planetary boundaries theory, indicating that human activities are pushing Earth closer to its limits, threatening the planet's habitability.
  • The updated framework defines nine planetary boundaries, including climate change, biosphere integrity, ocean acidification, and more.
  • The study suggests that six of these boundaries have already been breached and emphasizes the interconnectedness of these limits, calling for prompt action to mitigate risks and protect the planet's stability.

Think about it!

Take a moment to reflect on how we measure “progress,” as a world, as countries, as cities, and as communities. What are the hidden impacts of how we measure progress?

Beyond GDP:

What are the alternatives to using GDP as a measure of growth? What would it take to transition to a measurement of development that includes nature as an integral part of prosperity?

Doughnut economics:

Some places are already aiming to live within planetary boundaries, while ensuring the social and economic wellbeing of all. What would it take to transition to such a model within your city or community?

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Andreea Alexandra Mitrofan commented 7 months ago ago

Dig even deeper!

Use these exercises to dive deeper. Stretch your imagination, and think about what a transition to a new economic model might look like in your context.

Design an economic transformation:

Imagine that your city, community or government decides to shift to a doughnut economic model. What would the transformation process look like?

Envision a more sustainable future:

Imagine that it is 2050, and your government has adopted a new model of economic progress. What do you think it will look like?

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Andreea Alexandra Mitrofan commented 7 months ago

Start a conversation!

Spark meaningful conversations on social media! Share the recommended posts to inspire your network to reflect and take action.

Let’s think beyond GDP

It’s time to #thinkbeyondGDP and reframe economics to recognize a better balance between people, prosperity and planetary boundaries. Learn more. #NatureForLife

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Time for doughnuts!

Our current economic models don’t recognize that we have surpassed our planetary boundaries, while increasing inequality all over the world. It’s time for #DoughnutEconomics. Learn more. #NatureForLife

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