The economic historian talks about his utopian philosophy, our damaging pursuit of money and the problem with happinessYour book, How Much Is Enough?, asks the ancient question of what constitutes a “good life”. It examines in particular John Maynard Keynes’s belief that in this century the spread of wealth would create a greater spread of leisure, and a great flowering of human potential. Wasn’t that always a utopian idea?I think the book is utopian in the light of what is going on at the moment. But I think it is also based on pretty hard economic reasoning. The calculation that Keynes made was that, if we got more money for less work, then we would want to work less. It was based on a notion of the satiability of human wants, which he got wrong of course to some degree.Did aristocratic elites always use their leisure well?No; of course a lot of them drank and squandered their money. But a lot, too, were very active in agriculture and the arts and building and so on. And in living good lives, surrounding themselves with beauty. The thought behind the book was: why shouldn’t more people aspire to do that?Keynes’s friend Virginia …read more

Via: The Guardian | Books