Albert Einstein once said, The definition of genius is taking the complex and making it simple. He also said, Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.
Yet, making things simpler is not for the faint of heart, because ultimately it means everyone should be able to understand and use the knowledge, plan, or resource being shared regardless of their experience, cultural background, literacy, or learning style. In other words, it needs to be described simply, so it can be used simply.
That’s not to say simplicity is easy because getting to simplicity rarely comes without a lot of teeth grinding, a willingness to work hard, and a whole lot of tenaciousness.
Regardless, I thought of the Einstein quotes when I recently came across the graphic below explaining an approach to economics that was brilliant in its simplicity. Hard to believe that one graphic and a name like “Doughnut Economics” explains new, leading-edge thinking about a topic as complicated as economics.
The woman providing the brilliance is Kate Raworth and her book (which I highly recommend) entitled, Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist.
Unlike the other economic theories covered in my university studies that took far too many dull pages to explain, Kate Raworth simply descibes the doughnut economy as being based on the premise that, "We need to meet the needs of all within the means of the planet. In other words, to ensure that no one falls short on life's essentials (from food and housing to healthcare and political voice), while ensuring that collectively we do not overshoot our pressure on Earth's life-supporting systems, on which we fundamentally depend – such as a stable climate, fertile soils, and a protective ozone layer. The Doughnut of social and planetary boundaries is a new framing of that challenge, and it acts as a compass for human progress this century[i]."
In our increasingly complex world of more, better, and faster, the simplicity of this model explains that good economics is about balancing financial growth with human values that reflect care and concern for people and the planet. It also illustrates that getting to simplicity is worth the effort because ultimately it makes the complex possible.
Doughnut Economics is a wonderful, user-friendly framework that provides a better way for how we can move toward a better future.