Skip to main content

How to think like a 21st century economist

Wednesday 6 December 2017, 16.00-17.30
Conference Auditorium 2, University of Leeds
Kate Raworth, Oxford University Environmental Change Institute
Joint Priestley Centre/SRI/Lili Project/LUBS Economic Division seminar


‘The citizens of 2050 are being taught an economic mindset that is rooted in the textbooks of 1950, which in turn are based on the theories of 1850.’

Economics – literally ‘the art of household management’ – could not be more relevant this century: we urgently need a new generation of economists who are ready to manage our planetary home in the interests of all its inhabitants. But the economic theories that are still being taught in universities and debated in parliaments worldwide are dangerously out of date. From climate change and the crisis in care to the rise of the 1% and the near-collapse of the global financial system, last-century’s theories are simply not up to tackling the central economic challenges of our times.

Kate Raworth, renegade economist and author of the best-selling book Doughnut Economics, argues that it’s time to start thinking like a 21st century economist. Drawing on insights from emergent schools of thought – including complexity, ecological, feminist, behavioural and institutional economics – she argues that today’s economies are divisive and degenerative by default, and must become distributive and regenerative by design. It’s time for humanity’s portrait at the heart of economic theory to be drawn anew so that, instead of bringing out the worst in us, it nurtures the best of human nature.

Seven ways to think like a 21st century economist:

1. Change the goal—from GDP to the Doughnut.

2. See the big picture—from self-contained market to embedded economy.

3. Nurture human nature—from rational economic man to social adaptable humans.

4. Get savvy with systems—from mechanical equilibrium to dynamic complexity.

5. Design to distribute—from ‘growth will even it up again’ to distributive by design.

6. Create to regenerate—from ‘growth will clean it up again’ to regenerative by design.

7. Be agnostic about growth—from growth addicted to growth agnostic.

“Brilliant, thrilling and revolutionary. Drawing on a deep well of learning, wisdom and deep thinking, Kate Raworth has comprehensively reframed and redrawn economics. It is entirely accessible, even for people with no knowledge of the subject. I believe that Doughnut Economics will change the world.”

George Monbiot

“Brimming with creativity, Raworth reclaims economics from the dust of academia and puts it to the service of a better world.”

Tim Jackson, author of Prosperity without Growth


Kate Raworth (‘Ray-worth’) is a renegade economist dedicated to making economics fit for the 21st century. Her best-selling book Doughnut Economics: seven ways to think like a 21st century economist has been translated into eight languages. She teaches at Oxford University’s Environmental Change Institute, and is also a Senior Associate of the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership and an advisor to the Global Challenges programme of the Stockholm School of Economics.

Over the past two decades Kate has worked as Senior Researcher at Oxfam, as a co-author of the UN’s Human Development Report, and as a Fellow of the Overseas Development Institute based in the villages of Zanzibar. She holds a BA and MSc from Oxford University and an honorary doctorate from Business School Lausanne.

Pre-booking essential: please register here

This seminar, to which all are welcome, is jointly promoted by the Priestley International Centre for Climate, Sustainability Research Institute, Lili Project and Economic Division (Leeds University Business School)

Event update:

You can now join this seminar remotely from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android, via Zoom

Or iPhone one-tap:    US: +16699006833,,105813293#  or +16465588656,,105813293#

Or Telephone: Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):US: +1 669 900 6833  or +1 646 558 8656

Meeting ID: 105 813 293

International numbers available: