Tag Archives: John Maynard Keynes

John Maynard Keynes’ post-capitalist vision

With the recent economic troubles many commentators have brought up the economic ideas of John Maynard Keynes with regard to fiscal stimulus to avert or ameliorate the effects of a recession.

One of the most interesting comments I’ve read talks about Keynes’ attitude to capitalism in general, from John Nalsh in The Times, is a reference to an essay entitled Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren in which he predicted:

The strenuous purposeful money-makers may carry all of us along with them into the lap of economic abundance. But it will be those peoples, who can keep alive, and cultivate into a fuller perfection, the art of life itself and do not sell themselves for the means of life, who will be able to enjoy the abundance when it comes.

This is a brilliant point. Keynes is basically saying that capitalism is necessary to create wealth – but it is not the be all and end all of human existence. Consuming and speculating is a means to an end.

The aim of capitalism is in the long run to make capitalism irrelevant. Once everyone on the planet has a high standard of living then we can all get on with other things.

[essay available here, via The Times][image from Jacob Bøtter on flickr]