Less like a flight path, more like a donut

airplane taking off

Whether you went out today to take advantage of incredible deals, or instead celebrated Buy Nothing Day, you probably have an opinion about the hype that is Black Friday.

Apparently, people are now flying to the US from other countries to participate in the spectacle. Brooke Harrington describes it this way in the Atlantic:

The first shopping day after Thanksgiving has evolved from a practical matter of snagging great deals into a spectacle that outsiders find exotic and entertaining—the capitalist equivalent of Spain’s Running of the Bulls. In Pamplona, you get frenzied crowds, violence and death; a Black Friday trip gives you all that, plus the chance to score a plasma television.

To my mind, Black Friday is a very concentrated dose of the philosophy that underlies basic assumptions about the way the world works, like the idea that a viable economy demands growth, followed by the notion that we are destined to buy more and more and more.

If we’re paying attention we can’t help noticing that this plan has some serious downsides, but perhaps it has never occurred to us that there are any viable alternatives. Enter Oxford economist Kate Raworth. Take a few minutes to hear her out. It might even expand your idea of what’s possible.


When compared to the model Raworth describes, the “growth is everything” mantra seems both shallow and reckless. An economic model that prioritizes the community’s thriving rather than simply biggering and biggering, as Dr. Seuss so presciently put it, seems much the wiser course. If you don’t have time now to watch the whole video, you can start at the 6-minute point and in three or four minutes get a quick glimpse at what Raworth characterizes as a new shape of progress.

I do have a question: How can I find people in decision-making roles that think this way, so I can support them?

This new economic model is inspiring, and I hope to see it prosper. I also hope you won’t think me entirely frivolous when I confess that after thinking about economic theory for a while, I was temporarily distracted by the memory of that other kind of donut, and a recipe I’ve got my eye on.

I’m not sure how long it will be before I’ve recovered from Thanksgiving pie overload to be able to show symbolic support for the donut model by trying the recipe out. But don’t worry about me selling out to growth and overconsumption (ahem). The recipe only makes six donuts.


coffee cake donut

Here’s the recipe I’ve got my eye on.

[Images: aviationstackexchange.com, yummly.com]

2 thoughts on “Less like a flight path, more like a donut

  1. My favorite line from Greta Thunberg’s UN speech: “…all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth.”

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