Weekend Reading: The Downfall of Mother Bank
Fairly Recently: Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings... (May 19, 2019)

John Maynard Keynes (1926): The End of His ""The End of Laissez-Faire": Weekend Reading

Il Quarto Stato

Weekend Reading: John Maynard Keynes (1926): The end of his "The End of Laissez-Faire": "These reflections have been directed towards possible improvements in the technique of modern capitalism.... There is nothing in them which is seriously incompatible with... the essential characteristic... the dependence upon an intense appeal to... money-making and money-loving instincts.... I may do well to remind you... that the fiercest contests and the most deeply felt divisions of opinion are likely to be waged in the coming years... round... questions... psychological or, perhaps, moral...

...In Europe... there is a latent reaction... against basing society to the extent that we do upon fostering, encouraging, and protecting the money-motives.... Different persons... ind the money-motive playing a large or a small part... historians can tell us about other phases of social organisation in which this motive has played a much smaller part.... Most religions and most philosophies deprecate, to say the least of it, a way of life mainly influenced by considerations of personal money profit. On the other hand, most men today reject ascetic notions and do not doubt the real advantages of wealth... [and] it seems obvious to them that one cannot do without the money-motive, and that, apart from certain admitted abuses, it does its job well....

Confusion of thought and feeling leads to confusion of speech. Many... objecting to capitalism as a way of life, argue as though they were objecting to it on the ground of its inefficiency.... Devotees of capitalism... reject reforms... which might really strengthen and preserve it, for fear that they may prove to be first steps away from capitalism itself. Nevertheless, a time may be coming when we shall get clearer than at present... [what] we are talking about....

For my part I think that capitalism, wisely managed, can probably be made more efficient for attaining economic ends than any alternative system yet in sight, but that in itself it is in many ways extremely objectionable. Our problem is to work out a social organisation which shall be as efficient as possible without offending our notions of a satisfactory way of life.

The next step forward must come... from... an effort of the mind to elucidate our own feelings.... Reformers will not be successful until they can steadily pursue a clear and definite object with their intellects and their feelings in tune.... Material poverty provides the incentive to change... where there is very little margin for experiments. Material prosperity removes the incentive just when it might be safe to take a chance. Europe lacks the means, America the will, to make a move...


#equitablegrowth #moralphilosophy #weekendreading

Comments