《Bran-New + Hardcover Edition + A Thought-Provoking Analysis Showcasing The Economic Insatiability of Our Society》Robert Skidelsky & Edward Skidelsky - HOW MUCH IS ENOUGH ? : Money And Good Life
This New York Times & The Guardian Bestseller in hardcover edition is a bran-new book and nicely wrapped with protective book-wrapper. The original new book is sold at usual price RM108.72. Now here Only at RM28. A provocative and timely call for a moral approach to economics, drawing on philosophers, political theorists, writers, and economists from Aristotle to Marx to Keynes. This is a remarkable work of economics, history, and philosophy in one, easy to understand yet offering a refreshing and complex polemic against our money-grubbing-and-hoarding nature. How Much is Enough?: Money and the Good Life is a 2012 popular economics book by Robert Skidelsky and Edward Skidelsky. The book asks why Westerners work so many hours per week and lead lives that revolve around money, business and financial decisions in defiance of John Maynard Keynes' 1930 assertion that there would come a time (around 2015) when capitalism would be able to provide for all our needs and the work week would drop to 10 or even 5 hours. The book looks into the idea of the good life and how capitalism may have been the key to it, but we have now lost sense of the good life as a priority. The solutions offered to this problem are to "curb insatiability" and to consider a form of basic income for society. Generally, we will ask : ☞ What constitutes the good life? ☞ What is the true value of money? ☞ Why do we work such long hours merely to acquire greater wealth? These are some of the questions that many asked themselves when the financial system crashed in 2008. This book tackles such questions head-on. The Skidelsky brothers have written a succinct book arguing that. They suggest replacing the imperatives of economic growth and productive efficiency with an ethic of the ‘good life’, cobbled together from the democratic socialism of the mid-20th century, older philosophical works, and Catholic teachings. In 1930 the great economist Keynes predicted that, over the next century, income would rise steadily, people's basic needs would be met and no one would have to work more than fifteen hours a week. Why was he wrong? Robert and Edward Skidelsky argue that wealth is not - or should not be - an end in itself, but a means to 'the good life'. The authors begin with the great economist John Maynard Keynes. In 1930 Keynes predicted that, within a century, per capita income would steadily rise, people’s basic needs would be met, and no one would have to work more than fifteen hours a week. Clearly, he was wrong: though income has increased as he envisioned, our wants have seemingly gone unsatisfied, and we continue to work long hours. The Skidelskys explain why Keynes was mistaken. Then, arguing from the premise that economics is a moral science, they trace the concept of the good life from Aristotle to the present and show how our lives over the last half century have strayed from that ideal. Finally, they issue a call to think anew about what really matters in our lives and how to attain it. How much money do you need to lead a good life? What is the good life anyway? In their book How Much Is Enough? Robert and Edward Skidelsky try to get to the bottom of these and related questions. In 1930 the great economist Keynes said that by 2030 most people would work only 15 hours a week, devoting the rest of their time to leisure. Obviously he was mistaken in his assumption, and the authors show why and how he went wrong with his idea. There are many books dealing with economy and money, our desires and needs. Some grant a rather cursory glance at our needs and wants while others present an intricate picture of the mechanisms involved. This book is most definitely one of the latter, so don't expect a light and entertaining read on how we spend too much on stuff we don't really need. This one's deep, needs to sink in, get thoroughly digested! This concise study literally has it all - from economic history to philosophy the reader can indulge in a many-layered work which ultimately makes one rethink our own perceptions of work, time and money. Might Keynes be proven right after all one day? Are the structural solutions offered feasible? Could society establish a basis for the good life we strive for? There are no ultimate answers to be found here, yet plenty of food for thought. How Much Is Enough? is that rarity, a work of deep intelligence and ethical commitment accessible to all readers. It will be lauded, debated, cited, and criticized. It will not be ignored. Tracing the concept from Aristotle to the present, they show how far modern life has strayed from that ideal. They reject the idea that there is any single measure of human progress, whether GDP or 'happiness', and instead describe the seven elements which, they argue, make up the good life, and the policies that could realize them. Overall, Skidelsky & Skidelsky's "How Much is Enough" found to be an intellectually stimulating, engaging, and well-reasoned book. Their call for a more moral understanding of economics is sorely needed, especially in an age when liberals and progressives all too often justify their recommended redistributive policies only on technocratic grounds like "increased productivity." The book focus, however, lies with the chapter on "Limits to Growth." I agree with them on the moral case against limitless growth and agree with their prescriptions, but I think they argue against a straw man version of the environmental movement for much of the chapter. They acknowledge their complete lack of expertise in climate science but then proceed to speak very dismissively--with sweeping, unsubstantiated claims--of climate scientists and environmental activists for much of the first half of the chapter. When they lament the non-existence of a theme of "living in harmony with nature" in environmentalist literature, I began to wonder if they had even read any. Their idea of "good life environmentalism" is a quite common theme in environmentalist circles, especially those in the "new economy" circle. The authors have crafted a philosophical discussion about our insatiable appetites for economic growth, which so far have ignored a key question: "To what end?" As students of John Maynard Keynes, the Skidelskys are all for economic growth through capitalism, but as a means not an end and certainly not at any social and environmental cost. I loved this book because it was decidedly apartisan, intellectually robust, and tackled a truly big idea – the quality of life – instead of the utilitarian so-called big ideas that dominate political discourse. It courageously proposes objective definitions to the ancient notion of the good life rather than subscribing to relativist solutions that please everyone but accomplish little. To be most admired is the way that the Skidelskys stand in the forum as public intellectuals, a role that today too often remains unfilled. Whether or not you agree with How Much is Enough?, you will relish the meaty debate the book hopes to inspire, and wish for more authors who contribute to rigorous examination of great ideas. ---------------------------------------------- REVIEW FROM THE GUARDIAN : By Larry Elliott The Wall Street crash was still a year away when in 1928 John Maynard Keynes spoke to an audience of Cambridge undergraduates. The great economist told the students that by the time they were old men the big economic problems of the day would be solved. The capitalist system was capable of delivering such a sustained and steady increase in output that workers would eventually have all the material goods they could possibly want. They would need to toil for only 15 hours a week and could then spend the rest of the time enjoying themselves. Capitalism, Keynes argued, was a means – a rather distasteful means – to this end. By the time his essay "Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren" was published two years later, the world was sliding towards the great depression, extremism and war, but Keynes saw the crash as merely delaying the day when society would be able to meet all its needs with far less effort. In one respect, Keynes was right. Capitalist economies have become more efficient; indeed, the leaps in productivity have been even greater than he predicted. But he was completely wrong in his belief that workers would ever feel satiated by their material possessions, and devote more of their time to painting, reading or watching ballet. So what would Keynes make of a world in which lavishly paid investment bankers work from dawn to dusk and then decamp at the weekend to country-house hotels where they are waited on hand and foot by a new servant class paid little more than subsistence wages? Not much, according to his eminent biographer, Robert Skidelsky, and his philosopher son Edward, in a book that draws heavily on Keynes's (rather patrician) views of what constituted the "good life". How Much Is Enough? argues that the modern world is characterised by insatiability, an inability to say enough is enough, and the desire for more and more money. Economics, a narrowly focused discipline in which there is no distinction between wants and needs, has driven to the end of a cul-de-sac. As in 1930, the Skidelskys say, the short-term need to get the global economy moving again should not deflect policy-makers from reforms that will lay the foundations of a saner, more stable world. The book argues that progress should be measured not by the traditional yardsticks of growth or per capita incomes but by the seven elements of the good life: health; security; respect; personality; harmony with nature; friendship; and leisure. "The overall picture is not encouraging for the advocates of growth at all cost. Despite the doubling of UK per capita income, we possess no more of the basic goods than we did in 1974; in certain respects, we possess less of them." This is perhaps a tad hyperbolic. To be sure, job security is much weaker than it was at the end of the golden age of postwar prosperity and the pressure on the environment has increased. But fewer people die horrible deaths from lung cancer than they did 40 years ago; the bonds of friendship are as strong as they ever were (if manifested differently in a digital age); people are more aware of the need to live in harmony with nature; and in many ways Britain is a more tolerant, respectful place than it was in an era when the London dockers took to the streets in support of Enoch Powell. There is a danger of getting misty-eyed about a time that was not a golden age if you were poor, black or gay. That said, the main thrust of the book holds true. There is more to life than gross domestic product and it is only recently that growth at all costs has become enshrined as the goal of economic policy. We live in a country divided into workaholics who have more money than they know what to do with and millions of unemployed and under-employed citizens struggling to make ends meet on the proceeds of work in the informal economy or claiming state benefits. In the middle there are the debt slaves, worried about the mortgage and often one pay packet away from penury. When the Skidelskys say that we ought to be able to do better than this, it is hard to disagree with them. They favour a society influenced rather less by Anglo-Saxon capitalism and rather more by the catholic teachings that inspired Europe's postwar social market economy. Sprinkle in a bit of Keynesian liberalism and a pinch of social democracy and the good society is within reach. Well, perhaps. How Much Is Enough? is a spirited polemic but it is not without its faults. The book starts and finishes well but has a long central philosophical section in which the disquisitions on Marcuse and Aristotle give the impression that the authors are showing off. They also have quite fixed views on what constitutes the good life. They approve of the opera and wine-tasting but not of watching TV and getting drunk, noting that Keynes's vision of middle-class culture spreading to the masses with the increase of leisure has not been realised. But the main problem with this book is one of political agency. They make a series of sensible suggestions for how the good life could be attained: a basic citizens income, an expenditure tax and curbs on advertising to rein in consumerism; a Tobin tax on financial transactions. Where they are less convincing is in sketching out how these policies will be effected. "A sustained effort should be made to raise the share of income received by teachers, doctors, nurses and other public service professionals," they say. "This will require a higher rate of taxation and for that reason will encounter more political resistance than in countries which start with more equal income distribution." You bet it will. About Author : ROBERT SKIDELSKY is Emeritus Professor of Political Economy at the University of Warwick. His biography of Keynes received numerous prizes, including the Lionel Gelber Prize and the Council on Foreign Relations Prize for International Relations. He was made a life peer in 1991, and a Fellow 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, Spectator and Prospect. His previous books include The Conditions of Goodness and Ernst Cassirer: The Last Philosopher of Culture.
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