This is a thought-provoking blog on the significance of Keynes for our times – Keynes asked many of the questions that modern economists, and politicians, seem too frightened to ask, never mind confront. Such questions include delving into the philosophical basis of what money, growth, happiness, purpose and the meaningfulness of economic activity etc. is all about. There are clear parallels with the Biblical concept of ‘shalom’ – not the narrow definition of just peace, but what fruitfulness and meaningful existence should be about. In 21st Century life, peace is key, for “if we want peace we must work for justice” (Pope Paul VI), and that most certainly includes economic justice – it seems we have strayed a long way from some of Keynes’ vision, never mind the Biblical blue-print, which seems so clear in theory, yet so hard to achieve in practice.
Jeremy Williams has also posted a recent article considering other aspects of growth, and how we need to re-conceive economic relations in a sustainable (post-growth) context – highly recommended!

Make Wealth History

In 1930, the greatest economist of the age, J M Keynes, sat down and wrote about the future in an essay called Economic possibilities for our grandchildren. It was a pep talk for a depressed time, when people wondered if the great wave of progress of the 19th century had ended. There was no need to be down, Keynes argued. This was a time of readjustment and problem solving, and our pessimism would evaporate if we could “take wings into the future”. “What can we reasonably expect the level of our economic life to be a hundred years hence?” asks Keynes. “What are the economic possibilities for our grandchildren?”

We’re still a few years off that 100 year mark, but we’re well into the lifetimes of those grandchildren. Did Keynes get things right?

Well, he was certainly correct that there was more wealth to come. He projected capital…

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