Why did the chicken cross the road? To teach you about systems thinking. Most economists aren't jokey but Kate Raworth is no ordinary economist. I read economic theory with an arched eyebrow aware of the ideologic battles and discrepancies between them.
The dismal science is only dismal if you under-appreciate the history and disregard the modern evolution of thought. Many writers have jumped on the health economics bandwagon without appreciation of the power of economics in general.
Economics is the mother tongue of public policy, the language of public life and the mindset that shapes society--Kate Raworth
I wrote for a major player in health economics papers. The topic was hematopoietic stem cell transplantation in pediatric patients. When I questioned the data I was told it was too technical for a writer so I should focus solely on the writing. I scratched my head and wondered--what was I writing about?
When the information about indirect costs was unceremoniously deleted from the draft manuscript I realized these weren't the projects for me. It isn't easy walking away from the flow of specialized writing projects. But yet, it was. I launched Data & Donuts and didn't look back. If the data wasn't leading the story or manuscript--what was?
If we have data, let's look at data. If all we have are opinions, let's go with mine--Jim Barksdale, former Netscape CEO
Yes discrete choice experiments and trade-offs are more complicated to measure but then again--survival is not mandatory. Eventually these old models will be obsolete when enough evolved thinkers start asking better questions and questioning the fraying answers. A recent podcast from the London School of Economics discusses how modern models in economics should be thought of as a doughnut where social foundations are bound by the ecological limits of the planet. How we think of capitalistic growth and where the limits should be defined is pertinent to spiraling healthcare costs and the GDP that is falsely expected to save out-dated economic theories.
In her book, Doughnut Economics 7 Ways to Think like a 21st Century Economist, Kate Raworth asks challenging questions and presents a tension for debate around pre-conceived answers.
What does this have to do with our chicken left out in the middle of the road? The complexity of alternative payment models, electronic medical record integration, social determinants of health and evolving policy recommendations both in Medicare and Medicaid as well as commercial models has created a data void to inform not only improved patient outcomes but also the health of our communities.
The wisdom of the "doughnut" as described by Kate Raworth or "donut" inherent in the data & donut speak to the interaction of dynamic systems. The diagram below illustrates what happens when we overshoot the ecological ceiling or short change the social foundations of our planet.
How can we turn economies that need to grow, whether or not they make us thrive, into economies that make us thrive, whether or not they grow?