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On Human Emancipation from Imaginary Financial Constraints...

A vision of public opulence, and of human emancipation from imaginary financial constraints. If there are three things that are at the heart of Keynesian economics, they are (1) the private sector cannot run the economy without assistance, (2) a great deal of evil is done by analogizing the government’s and society’s balance sheet to an individual’s, and (3) this one here: what we can do, we can afford—that if we could do it, it makes no coherent sense to say that we cannot afford it, for the market and finance economy was made for man, not man for the finance and market economy:

John Maynard Keynes: How Much Does Finance Matter? https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/readings/article-keynes-finance-matter.pdf: ‘Where we are using up resources, do not let us submit to the vile doctrine of the nineteenth century that every enterprise must justify itself in pounds, shillings and pence of cash income, with no other denominator of values but this...

...I should like to see that war memorials of this tragic struggle take the shape of an enrichment of the civic life of every great centre of population. Why should we not set aside, let us say, £50 millions a year for the next twenty years to add in every substantial city of the realm the dignity of an ancient university or a European capital to our local schools and their surroundings, to our local government and its offices, and above all perhaps, to provide a local centre of refreshment and entertainment with an ample theatre, a concert hall, a dance hall, a gallery, a British restaurant, canteens, cafes and so forth.

Assuredly we can afford this and much more. Anything we can actually do we can afford. Once done, it is there. Nothing can take it from us.

We are immeasurably richer than our predecessors. Is it not evident that some sophistry, some fallacy, governs our collective action if we are forced to be so much meaner than they in the embellishments of life?…

 #noted #2020-06-04

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