University Winners of The 8th Way to Think Like a 21st Century Economist!

Back in January, Rethinking Economics and Doughnut Economics got together and launched a competition based on the ‘seven ways to think like a 21st century economist’ set out in Kate Raworth’s book Doughnut Economics. The challenge that we threw down was this:

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

In other words, we’ve been bowled over by the response. So here’s a very big thank you to everyone who has entered and shared their ideas so generously and creatively. Yesterday we announced our amazing winners in the School Student category, check them out here. Today we are delighted to announce the winners of the University Students category.

We want to thank and congratulate every single university student who entered the competition – we were really impressed and inspired by the conviction inherent in the ideas you submitted, and the brilliant ways you shared them. We hope that every one of you will keep on rethinking economics to help make it fit for the century ahead.

As for our winners – here’s goes, with a big drum roll……!

UNIVERSITY – FIRST PLACE: ‘Legal Right for Nature’ by James Legg-Bagg

Our judges say:

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


Three runners up (in alphabetical order)

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

Read the entry here.

Our judges say:

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

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

Our judges say:

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


RUNNER-UP: Be Positive About the Future, by Conor Lawrenson

Read the entry here

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


So congratulations to all our University winners – now let’s get to work turning these ideas into reality.

Tomorrow (Thursday 6th June) we’ll be announcing the winners of the Everyone Else category.

On Friday 7th June we’ll be turning this competition into a unique collaboration, so keep a look out for a brilliant celebration of all of the ideas submitted…

9 thoughts on “University Winners of The 8th Way to Think Like a 21st Century Economist!

  1. 5 June 2019 at 13:44

    Dear all – love from Norway!
    Thanks for the amazing work you all do in finding and developing new economic structures and ways-of-thinking – and feeling.

    Thanks for being a part of this competition.
    CONGRATULATIONS to all of the winners!

    Lots of economic nerdy love
    from Kathrine in Oslo

  2. Michael Gill
    6 June 2019 at 08:41

    Please tell me how I can send yo some of my thoughts by e-mail.
    Michael Gill, Boyanup.

  3. 6 June 2019 at 13:47

    The winner of the first prize echoes the work undertaken by people like Cormac Cullinan, a South African lawyer and writer of “Wild Law” who has been espousing these ideas for at least the last two decades and whose work has assisted either Ecuador or Bolivia (can’t remember offhand which nation), which passed a law that formally recognises “Pacha Mamma” (mother earth) as a legal entity.
    What I am saying is this is not a new or novel concept. However it is always worth and worthy to raise the profile of the need for legal recognition of ecological rights in National and International legal frameworks. After all, without earth/ natural resources/ resilient ecology we are as good as dead.

    1. 6 June 2019 at 18:24

      Many entries echo ideas that are already out there. I don’t see it as an issue, as long as the entrant makes a reasoning that is new to some extent, for example connecting dots in new ways, or seeing new ways in which an idea that is already out to answer to problem A can also be used to solve problem B. I also don’t see it as an issue if an idea is already out there but it has not become “famous” and the entrant brings attention to it adding their own interpretation. Besides, Kate Raworth herself is proposing in her work also things that have already been written years ago (e.g., she’s not the first to criticize the homo economicus!), but the novelty lies in the new way in which she is proposing them, the doughnut, so I don’t see issues in her work.
      So, the point is, are these entries presenting something that is original, at least to some extent? In some cases, I would say yes. In others, I have doubts (genuine doubts, as in “I genuinely don’t know, I would have to spend time and effort to figure it out”).

      Beside originality, I see another issue. Some entries are not actually proposing a mindset shift. They are proposing to specifically change the way we do a certain thing, but not a mindset shift that would fit well with the original 7 ones. For example, “Give legal rights to nature” is not a mindset shift, it’s a change in the legal system. “Consider nature as important as people” would have been a mindset shift, but that’s not the way this idea is presented.

      But my main concern is that some ideas are at odds with sustainability. Increasing the replacement of human work with AI is unsustainable, and thus the 21st century economist should be against it, not accept it and base the 8th mindset shift on it.

      I plan on writing my reflections in full on my personal blog. The aim is not to attack the winning entries/entrants, but to honestly discuss these issues. We are talking about the future of humanity on this planet, so having a honest discussion and being free to argue and counterargue is more important than being kind, congratulating and moving on, leaving the problems unaddressed. I hope nobody will feel offended or personally attacked for what I will write on my blog about this competition (when I have time).

      1. 7 June 2019 at 17:07

        Hi there Alice, thanks for your thoughts and comments. You are right that not all of the winning entries are expressed directly as ‘ways to think’. In the shortlisting process, we discussed this and decided to give priority to those that were, but to also include along with them some entries which set out proposals for change which are so significant that they essentially exemplify a mindset shift – just as you point out can be the case for giving legal rights to nature. All best, Kate

      2. Alice
        25 June 2019 at 23:26

        I am a nobody, and nobody asked for it, but here’s the blog post I had “promised” in the comment above, in which I also comment on these entries:

        Comments are honest and blunt, for the sake of having a honest discussion. I hope nobody will feel offended–my intention is to challenge, not to offend.
        If anyone has any problem with what I wrote, please contact me (contact details are included in the blog post).

    2. 7 June 2019 at 16:56

      Hi Glenn, thanks for your comment – the competition was not about presenting new or novel concepts per se. We invited people to propose an 8th way to think which added to the 7 already set out in my book – which were also not new or novel concepts, but my attempt to summarise a much-needed shift towards new economics thinking that has been brewing for decades, even centuries… all best, Kate