5. Design to distribute

Summary of Way

In the 20th century economic theory whispered a powerful message when it comes to inequality: it has to get worse before it can get better, and growth will eventually even things up.

But extreme inequality, as it turns out, is not an economic law or necessity: it is a design failure.

Twenty-first century economists recognize that there are many ways to design economies to be far more distributive of value among those who help to generate it. And that means going beyond redistributing income to pre-distributing wealth, such as the wealth that lies in controlling land, enterprise, and the power to create money.

Introductory video

Relevance to digital tech

In the Doughnut model this category refers to designing economies and societies to radically reduce inequality. This was a recurring theme in our workshop discussions, with many comments on gender, regional and ethinc pay gap, and starkly uneven access to technology.

Comments included:

  • “Tech employees share income with those most at risk of from Climate change”
  • “Fair contracts and benefits for gig economy workers”
  • “Salary gap, how is that still a thing?”
  • “CEO only earns max 3x as much as lowest paid worker”
  • “Local, regional, global communities create digital networks that respond to their needs and hopes”