How Much is Enough?: Money and the Good Life Hardcover – 28 Jun 2012
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A crisp and pungent book (Rowan Williams Prospect)
"How much is enough?" is a good question. Anyone who sets store by capitalism and markets will find [this] book uncomfortable reading. It should be read all the same (Economist)
A truly innovative and radical perspective on reshaping the economy ... thought-stirring and extremely refreshing (John Gray Guardian)
A welcome call to reinvigorate society's ethical aspect and bring about the good life for everyone (New Yorker)
In their thoughtful book, the Skidelskys move seamlessly from the abstract to the concrete; from philosophy to public policy. They note that Keynes's futuristic essay was ignored as the world sank into the Great Depression. Will we again ignore this call to imagine a better future? (Jon Cruddas MP Independent) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
About the Author
Robert Skidelsky is Emeritus Professor of Political Economy at the University of Warwick. His three volume biography of John Maynard Keynes (1983, 1992, 2000) received numerous prizes, including the Lionel Gelber Prize for International Relations and the Council on Foreign Relations Prize for International Relations. ('This three-volume life of the British economist should be given a Nobel Prize for History if there was such a thing' - Norman Stone.) He was made a life peer in 1991, and aFellow of the British Academy in 1994. Edward Skidelsky is a lecturer in the Philosophy Department of the University of Exeter. He contributes regularly to the New Statesman, Telegraph, Spectator and Prospect. His previous books include The Conditions of Goodness and Ernst Cassirer: The Last Philosopher of Culture.
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Top Customer Reviews
This book tries to explain just how this all came about. And, after exploring the roots of what more and more people are recognizing as our global dilemma, attempts to put forward some solutions and new ways to define and move towards this 'good life'.
The book starts with Keynes. Keynes believed that the average number of hours that people worked would slowly diminish as technology became more and more efficient. In reality what we have seen is instead of four people being employed for ten hours a week, one person works for forty hours, leaving three people unemployed. At the same time, capitalism has increasingly 'monetized' and commodified everything it can, as Michael Sandel, amongst many others, has shown. Monetizing things changes how they are valued - not only do they become comparable in money terms, but their very nature is altered. For example: '[e]ducation...is increasingly seen not as a preparation for the good life but as a mean to increase the value of 'human capital''.Read more ›
The Skidelskies rightly point out that economics is not an end in itself; a argument that may seem self-evident; but often appears to be overlooked in contemporary political discourse. Instead they portray it as a 'Faustian bargain' with the less admirable qualities in our nature; used to bootstrap society to a developmental stage where we can again focus on quality of life. One of this book's most valuable points is that the continued focus on improving objective economic measures does not do away with the values-based politics which so traumatised the early 20th century. Instead it merely obscures the ideals and beliefs required to justify such an aim. Contemporary politics, in other words, is not the bland managerialism its propenents portray.
So far, I found the Skidelskies' thesis compelling. But problems begin to creep in. Robert Skidelsky is the author of a biography of Keynes - whose short essay 'Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren' is used to introduce the book - and Edward a professor of philosophy with a preference for value ethics. One gets the feeling early on that the Skidelskies tend to frame the debate in light of their preferred fields.Read more ›
What's wrong with acquisitiveness, or, less pejoratively, with aspiration? The authors dismiss the critiques given by both Marxism ("economic insatiability is a creation of capitalism") and Christianity (it's "the product of original sin"). Their own view is that economic insatiability is rooted in human nature - "in the disposition to compare our fortune with that of our fellows and find it wanting" - but that it "has been greatly intensified by capitalism, which has made it the psychological basis of an entire civilization." (They might have quoted Shakespeare. Nerissa, Portia's gentlewoman-in-waiting in The Merchant of Venice, puts it simply: "they are as sick that surfeit with too much as they that starve with nothing.")
In ...Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A very interesting book. The Skidelsky brothers compare modern western values with the values of other societies throughout history to argue that we have taken a step in the wrong... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
To date my favourite book, I based my dissertation on ideas I came up with while reading this.Published 10 months ago by Cornelia
excellent read. robert skidelsky and his son have a way with words that draws you to keep reading.Published 15 months ago by sikander khan
A very enjoyable read. Could be skipped through if you are not interested in the history, and you will still get a lot. Feel everyone should read this.Published 17 months ago by tony