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Revisiting KeynesEconomic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren$
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Lorenzo Pecchi and Gustavo Piga

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780262162494

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262162494.001.0001

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Economic Well-being in a Historical Context

Economic Well-being in a Historical Context

(p.125) 8 Economic Well-being in a Historical Context
Revisiting Keynes

Benjamin M. Friedman

The MIT Press

This chapter addresses the question of whether the current generation is better off than their great grandparents in terms of leading happier, more satisfying lives. Considering the advances in modern medicine and science that were absent during the time of our great grandparents, do these make them less happy than us, and will further advances enable our great grandchildren to lead happier lives than ours? Keynes apparently believed so, even if the mere improvement of material living standards for their own sake was not what he had in mind. He contends that, in time, most citizens would be sufficiently satisfied with their material circumstances to regard “the economic problem” as “solved,” and hence would be willing to devote a substantial part of the ongoing expansion of production capacity to achieving ends other than private consumption.

Keywords:   satisfying lives, Keynes, material living standards, material circumstances, the economic problem, production capacity, private consumption

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