Keynes assigned a central role to consumption in his theory of income determination, but unlike others, for instance Mandeville or Malthus , who had also praised the virtue of a high level of consumption, he pointed out the problems that consumption entails and the vice of which it was a product. In the General Theory (1936) consumption is seen as the necessary means for the well-being of society; the propellant, so to speak, in the machinery to boost employment and income. This raises the question of what has happened to the remarks made in the Economic Possibility for our Grandchildren (1931), where the pursuit of material objects of wealth is seen as the by-product of a morbid instinct, the love of money as a “possession”. In fact, in the final chapter of the General Theory the money-making motive is no longer depicted as the dark side of the soul, but rather as the prerequisite for the full fruition of certain valuable human activities. I argue that nothing is said against consumption in the Economic Possibility for our Grandchildren; in fact among the “enjoyments” of life we may find many objects of consumption, which need not to be acquired through monetary expenditure and that can be made available in greater abundance thanks to solution of the “economic problem”. Consumption as an end, not as a means, to possession can therefore be accommodated within Keynes’s early and mature philosophy: to fight the pessimism of the heart and the untruthfulness of received ideas about the virtue of money-making rather than money-spending.

Consumption and money-making in Keynes: enjoyments of life or morbid instincts? / Marcuzzo, Maria Cristina. - STAMPA. - (2017), pp. 215-223.

Consumption and money-making in Keynes: enjoyments of life or morbid instincts?

MARCUZZO, Maria Cristina
2017

Abstract

Keynes assigned a central role to consumption in his theory of income determination, but unlike others, for instance Mandeville or Malthus , who had also praised the virtue of a high level of consumption, he pointed out the problems that consumption entails and the vice of which it was a product. In the General Theory (1936) consumption is seen as the necessary means for the well-being of society; the propellant, so to speak, in the machinery to boost employment and income. This raises the question of what has happened to the remarks made in the Economic Possibility for our Grandchildren (1931), where the pursuit of material objects of wealth is seen as the by-product of a morbid instinct, the love of money as a “possession”. In fact, in the final chapter of the General Theory the money-making motive is no longer depicted as the dark side of the soul, but rather as the prerequisite for the full fruition of certain valuable human activities. I argue that nothing is said against consumption in the Economic Possibility for our Grandchildren; in fact among the “enjoyments” of life we may find many objects of consumption, which need not to be acquired through monetary expenditure and that can be made available in greater abundance thanks to solution of the “economic problem”. Consumption as an end, not as a means, to possession can therefore be accommodated within Keynes’s early and mature philosophy: to fight the pessimism of the heart and the untruthfulness of received ideas about the virtue of money-making rather than money-spending.
Economic Analyses in Historical Perspective
978-1-13-850119-
Keynes, consumption, money
02 Pubblicazione su volume::02a Capitolo o Articolo
Consumption and money-making in Keynes: enjoyments of life or morbid instincts? / Marcuzzo, Maria Cristina. - STAMPA. - (2017), pp. 215-223.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11573/957072
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