Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Economy of Plenty, Part 3

The article by the two professors "In Praise Of Leisure" says maybe everything I am trying to say:
Keynes's essay challenges us to imagine what life after capitalism might look like ...
But so accustomed have we become to regarding scarcity as the norm that few of us think about what motives and principles of conduct would, or should, prevail in a world of plenty.
Keynes was well aware of the evils of capitalism but assumed that they would wither away once their work of wealth creation was done.
It is only our culture's poverty of imagination that leads it to believe that all creativity and innovation—as opposed to that specific kind directed to improving economic processes—needs to be stimulated by money.
Quoting economist Harry Johnson, 1960:
we live in a rich society, which nevertheless in many respects insists on thinking and acting as if it were a poor society.
End of quoting.
That was not the ancient view of things. Athens and Rome had citizens who, though economically unproductive, were active to the highest degree—in politics, war, philosophy, and literature.
The beginning of sanity in this matter is to think of scarcity in relation to needs, not wants.
Considered in relation to our vital needs, our state is one not of scarcity but rather of extreme abundance.
Interesting, this definition of the science of economics:
Economics, says a recent text, studies "how people choose to use limited and scarce resources in attempting to supply unlimited wants."
So if economics is based on the assumption of scarcity, maybe we need a new science? Even the noun "economy" has as synonyms "thrift - husbandry - saving - frugality - parsimony". So "economy of plenty" is maybe an oxymoron.

Of course, there will always be the rich and the ultra-rich. They just need to realize that we don't need to have the poor. Everyone can have enough to eat and they can still have their yachts, airplanes, helicopters, and multiple estates.

Maybe a positive sign as we look for the Death of Capitalism? In the tech world, we now have Kickstarter, where you can raise millions of dollars to start a company or create a product without having to beg for money from -- and indebt yourself to -- banks or venture capitalists. (Weird, "indebt" is not a word, but "indebted" is ??? WTF???)

Well, much to think about. How do we get there? I guess next thing for me is to read these guys' book, "How Much Is Enough? Money and the Good Life" and see if has any action items. I will be sure and report on it.

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