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How do we think about the UK lockdown debate?
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Despot now, doughnut later

Amsterdam has already announced it plans to introduce Oxford University's so-called "doughnut model" to rehabilitate its economy. Critically, this viewpoint sees lockdown as necessary, but longterm economic damage as optional. It suggests current growth models are outdated, and that contemporary ideas, which consider social factors and environmental health, are the way to avoid a post-pandemic depression. This model is largely championed by third sector players, including Oxfam, who see it as a route to longterm sustainable development.
Coronavirus Politics

The Argument

Lockdown is not a guarantee of economic devastation. It's a wake up call to reform our economies.[1] Preserving the greater good and saving lives needs to be paramount to all other concerns. That being said, Covid-19 has revealed major issues within the economic system that needs reforming. The UK's economic model, as it stands, cannot last. The government needs to adopt a donut-style economic model to future-proof the UK's economy. The Donut—a term and model coined by economist Kate Raworth and Oxfam—details how an economic, social, and political system can be built to help those most in need.[2] Raworths model has several social issues in the interior of the donut: mass unemployment, world poverty, the gender pay and representation gap, and malnourishment, and others. All the while, the exterior of the donut names nine ecological issues that, according to Raworth and Oxfam, can be achieved while fixing social issues. The happy middle, where geological effects are minimized and social issues are lifted, is where the donut lies. If one climate or earth issue passes the "ecological ceiling," the earth will begin to deteriorate beyond repair. This model can—and should—be used to enact monetary policy that preserves the environment, all the while working to lift people out of poverty, create equitable governments and equal pay, and better society. Raworth writes that, in order for her model to work, we need to rethink what we know about equality.[3] This new economy and move towards more conscious capitalism needs to be distributive, but not just on income, on all factors of wealth including land, enterprise, and money creation. While economic and social justice might seem incompatible, activist George Monbiot says that the two are linked.[4] In an opinion for The Guardian, Monbiot writes that the only way to create a socially equitable economy and uplift the poorest people is by preserving the environment and our planet. While lockdown can be grueling and people will get restless, the health of the population must come before all else. And after months of lockdown, Britain needs to implement a system that is more equitable for everyone.

Counter arguments

The donut model is not compatible with all nations. Amsterdam is much smaller than England with a much different population and economy. While a donut model could work there, the scale of the UK economy is prohibitive to drastic overhaul of the economy and a shift in the distribution of wealth.



Rejecting the premises


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This page was last edited on Monday, 26 Oct 2020 at 13:27 UTC

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