The 8th way to think like a 21st century economist


Back in January 2019, Rethinking Economics and Doughnut Economics launched a competition asking:



We were amazed and delighted to receive over 250 entries across three categories – schools, universities, and everyone else – covering a very wide range of themes. And we were sent a brilliant array of ideas, perspectives, formats and presentations – from text, drawings, audio, and video, to animations, cartoons, prezis, and more.

Thank you to everyone who submitted your idea, and in so doing, contributed to the ecosystem of rethinking that is so very needed. The volume and diversity of responses have revealed to us the power of the hive mind! And to visualise this, Hugo Araujo and our friends at 7vortex.com devised this amazing visualisation, which shows all entries (that we were given permission to publish) and the themes that connect them.

Every green bubble is someone’s idea and the blue bubbles are the big themes that connect them all together: the bigger the bubble, the more ideas are linked to it.
  • Click on a green bubble and you’ll see the idea’s author(s) and summary, plus a link to the complete submission, be it text, video, audio, slideshow.
  • Click on a blue bubble and you’ll see all of the submissions that are linked to that theme.

The result is a wonderful hive-mind insight into what many people clearly think economics needs to rethink for the 21st century. And it just leaves the question, what's your 8th way to think like a 21st century economist...?

This is just the image from the interactive model you can explore here.



Meet the judges!


Huge thanks to our fantastic team of judges for their timely insights and valuable feedback on their favourite submissions.



Winners from each category


Winner - Schools category


‘From Division of Labour to Cohesive Partnership’ by Presence Tse

Our judges said:

Congratulations, Presence for this powerful, personal and punchy way of conveying such important ideas in a way that everyone can understand. Yes we must recognise humanity’s limits alongside planetary limits – you make your case convincingly and memorably – Kate Raworth

A powerful call for an economics that puts people at its centre. You said in your video that ‘you’re not an economist’ – well I think this entry disproves that theory! – Ross Cathcart


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Winner - University category


‘Legal Right for Nature’ by James Legg-Bagg

Our judges said:

Excellent explanation on how economies are ’embedded’ in legal structures. We must reinvent what the legal rights are of nature and eco-systems – Mariana Mazzucato

We will need to reserve large swathes of the planet for the wild world in future, and this is a step in that direction – Steve Keen

A critical transformation is seeing moral rights for nature, legal rights would be an important first step – Eric Beinhocker


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Winner - Everyone else category


‘From Business Case to Systems Case: Make Better Decisions’ by – Camila Pestana, Abha Lakhotia, Kate Watson, Ann Main, Johanna Hofmann, Marlies Wisse, Nicol Mayr, and Tom Rippin.

Our judges said:

Very well-presented and sensible (and much needed) focus on systems thinking – Steve Keen

Changing our decision making processes to take a systems perspective is important – Eric Beinhocker

Good idea and execution – the challenge is introducing the systemic incentives to adopt this approach! – Indy Johar

Really essential look at the systemic issue behind a lot of the social and ecological problems we see today. Thank you! – Ross Cathcart


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Runners up from each category


Runners up - Schools category


‘Valuing Sustainability in the Price Mechanism’ by Karanvir Singh Kumar

Our judges said:

The different parts of the argument fitted together well. I liked: the focus on the household as a way of thinking about consumers; the need for innovation to make sustainable living easy; and ‘mindfulness in demand and sustainability in supply’. Congratulations! – Naila Kabeer

Good substance with a clear presentation! – Nancy Folbre

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‘Moderate the Fixation on Profits: from profit-obsessed to principle-driven’ by Yun Soo Park and Rhea Kale

Our judges said:

A clever animation with a challenge to Adam Smith and the optimality of invisible hand solutions. Along with the focus on managers, you may want to focus more on the role of shareholders too – Naila Kabeer

Well done – I like both the argument and the presentation – Nancy Folbre


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‘Cultural Awareness and Sensitivity‘  by Micol Zubrickante

Our judges said:

Good emphasis on changing culture and mind sets by reversing the geography of power and interdisciplinary education – Naila Kabeer

Kudos for placing economics in the warm light of reality – you are absolutely right that context matters and shapes the possibilities that we consider real, and the realities that we consider possible. An imaginative illustration too! – Kate Raworth

Read the entry here




Runners up - University category


Imaginaries: the 8th Way of Thinking like a 21st Century Economist, by Sam Earle

Our judges said:

This is powerfully argued and a very distinctive and invaluable 8th way to think to add to the set – Kate Raworth

Intellectually rigorous and with an impressive vision. Congratulations! Ross Cathcart

Read the entry here


Rise of The Machines: Work Must Not Determine One’s Value and Self-Worth by Max Klymenko

Our judges said:

Robots may take our jobs but do not have to take our lives! Great point. And good explanation of why this will need new policies to help work be dignified (and we should never stop fighting for that) but also not be the way we define ourselves. Interesting to hear how you might think about UBI in this context – Mariana Mazzucato

This entry shows an astute awareness that labour would cease being a defining feature of existence in a good future society, and demonstrates the need to think differently about labour today – Steve Keen


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Be Positive About the Future, by Conor Lawrenson

Our judges say:

Inspiring example of how mission oriented, outcomes-based thinking, can transform economies to achieve concrete social goals – Mariana Mazzucato

Agree entirely with the point about “agnostic about growth”, this needs to be complemented with being positive about the future – we can still have progress in a sustainable world – Eric Beinhocker

What an important and inspiring argument to make, with a very compelling example of it in action in Cape Town. We do indeed need this way of thinking – Kate Raworth

Read the entry here


Runners up - Everyone else category


‘Changing the purpose of money’ by Jan Kubben

Our judges said:

That money is designed and can be redesigned has to be one of the great messages of our time, and you tell it beautifully here – Kate Raworth

Technology gives us the means to re-imagine currency – and money. An interesting subject in real need of a radical shake-up! – Indy Johar

Clear, effective, engaging and hopefully achievable! A very impressive entry to the competition – Ross Cathcart


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‘Radical Transparency’ by Anna Murphy (Project Heather)

Our judges say:

There is currently very little transparency through supply chains to the consequences of decisions we make, more transparency would certainly have an impact, and this entry effectively argues for that – Eric Beinhocker

Love this idea, and the audio presentation of it – congratulations – Kate Raworth

A good governance frame to drive equitable economies. Congratulations – Indy Johar

Listen to the entry here


‘Time matters: Acknowledging comprehensive well-being’ by Jorge Rosales-Salas

Our judges say:

Time is our ultimate budget constraint, yet it is little taken into account in either economics or theories of well-being – Eric Beinhocker

Time as tool of equality, an area too often under presented in economics! Thank you! – Indy Johar

Time is the ultimate constraint! Something too often overlooked in a world with a ticking ecological clock – Ross Cathcart

Read the entry here


Thank you


Many, many thanks to the wonderful team of artisans – Teresa Ruiz, Maite Blanco and Jose Martinez – who handcrafted our fabulously unique crocheted doughnut trophies in Tudela, Spain.



A huge thanks of gratitude to Hugo Araujo and the team at 7Vortex for the beautiful ecosystem of ideas – working with you has been a great example of collaboration in practice!



And a very big thank you indeed to the team behind the scenes – Ali Al-Jamri, Hannah Dewhirst and Cameron Fay at Rethinking Economics, everyone who contributed to the design of the competition at the Rethinking Economics Summer Gathering 2018, and Dana Pop, Hallina Popko and Carlota Sanz at Doughnut Economics Action Lab for their tireless team-work in making this competition and collaboration such a success.

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