Let us not forget that knowledge and skills alone cannot lead humanity to a happy and dignified life.” – Albert Einstein.
Keynes (1930) Economic Possibilities of our Grandchildren (written during the Great Depression): “When the accumulation of wealth is no longer of high social importance, there will be great changes in the code of morals.”
He predicted by 2030 the ‘economic problem’ would be solved. He thought by then productive capacity would easily cover the needs of all in society and we could massively reduce work hours while maintaining a comfortable standard living for all. He believed society would replace its focus on arbitrary expansion of the economy with the human desire to be free to live a rich and meaningful life.
Specifically he predicted ‘consumption satiation’ would be achieved and desire for time and freedom would take over, resulting in a 2 day/15 hour working week.
Keynes actually underestimated productivity increases over the last 90 years. We could easily afford his vision. But he didn’t anticipate how consumer culture and neoliberalism would encourage us to carry on working like slaves in order to keep buying ever more tatt that doesn’t make us happy but makes our lifestyles unsustainable. He thought we would make rational choices.
We have a decade to make his vision come true. It’s also the decade in which we could avert catastrophic climate change. A four day working week would be an encouraging first step. Who knows maybe enough will wake up from this crisis and demand a new path.
Without Murdoch providing a platform for stale, angry, conservative voices, countries can dare to reimagine themselves.