In recent years, economic growth has been regarded as a self-evident good, with political debate focussed on the best means to achieve it. But there are now signs that this shared assumption is weakening. Anger at 'greedy' bankers and their 'obscene' bonuses has given way to a deeper dissatisfaction with an economic system geared overwhelmingly to the accumulation of wealth. Huge income disparities and an ever-growing gap between the richest and the rest has brought us to one of those rare moments when the underlying assumptions of society, are changing.
In How Much is Enough? Robert and Edward Skidelsky argue that wealth is not an end in itself but a means to the achievement and maintenance of a 'good life', and that our economy should be organised to reflect this fact. The book includes a definition of the 'good life', discusses the relevance of 'Happiness Studies' and the environmental impact of our ever-growing need to consume. In doing so, it offers an escape from the trap of excessive specialization and a way to reinvigorate the idea of economics as a 'moral science'. It concludes by offering a radical new model for income re-distribution - and a consideration of what human beings might really want from their lives.
A crisp and pungent book -- Rowan Williams * Prospect * How much is enough? is a good question. Anyone who sets store by capitalism and markets will find [this] book uncomfortable reading. It should be read all the same * Economist * A truly innovative and radical perspective on reshaping the economy ... thought-stirring and extremely refreshing -- John Gray * Guardian * A welcome call to reinvigorate society's ethical aspect and bring about the good life for everyone * New Yorker * In their thoughtful book, the Skidelskys move seamlessly from the abstract to the concrete; from philosophy to public policy. They note that Keynes's futuristic essay was ignored as the world sank into the Great Depression. Will we again ignore this call to imagine a better future? -- Jon Cruddas MP * Independent *