Is everything for sale? Does everything have a price? Is that what the market promised us?
I don’t think so. 2 books are now exploring what has happened to our society and their conclusions should be the beginning of an interesting debate.
- The Love of Money and the Case for the Good Life By Robert and Edward Skidelsky
- What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets By Michael Standel
To quote the Financial Times, (based upon their review of these 2 books, I’ve become a subscriber.): John Maynard Keynes stated that the problem with society is material instability. The incessant quest for more…Higher incomes, faster growth, is robbing us of the “good ” life. Paraphrasing and quoting from the FT review of both books:
- Faith in markets has undermined what we care about
- The influence of contemporary economic thinking has numbed our understanding of the “good” life.
- Acquisitiveness has become an end in itself and not the means to a “good”life.
Thus, a dialogue has begun about how we ought to value things. The Financial Times concludes with: be free to choose your concept of the “good” life. However; if your choice leaves you morally impoverished, this is s problem that should be addressed through deliberation, education and policy.
By all means, enlist the economists to help us achieve a better world!