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am 26. August 2012
How much money do you need to lead a good life? What is the good life anyway? In their book How Much Is Enough? Robert and Edward Skidelsky try to get to the bottom of these and related questions.
In 1930 the great economist Keynes said that by 2030 most people would work only 15 hours a week, devoting the rest of their time to leisure. Obviously he was mistaken in his assumption, and the authors show why and how he went wrong with his idea.
There are many books dealing with economy and money, our desires and needs. Some grant a rather cursory glance at our needs and wants while others present an intricate picture of the mechanisms involved. This book is most definitely one of the latter, so don't expect a light and entertaining read on how we spend too much on stuff we don't really need. This one's deep, needs to sink in, get thoroughly digested!
This concise study literally has it all - from economic history to philosophy the reader can indulge in a many-layered work which ultimately makes one rethink our own perceptions of work, time and money. Might Keynes be proven right after all one day? Are the structural solutions offered feasible? Could society establish a basis for the good life we strive for? There are no ultimate answers to be found here, yet plenty of food for thought.
In short: A thought-provoking analysis showcasing the economic insatiability of our society!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Penguin. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
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am 29. März 2014
SKIDELSKY Robert; SKIDELSKY Edward: „How much is enough? Money and the Good Life“, London 2012
Father and son have written a book. At a conference in Dürnstein I could hear these theses from fathers voice. This gave the impetus to read the book.
For interesting pages of a book I always make a dog-ear in the page. In this book, I would have almost all of the pages with such a "dog- ear" provided.
The very first sentence: „Nothing is enough fort he man to whom enough is too little.“
Capitalism has brought on one hand, an improvement of the human condition, but at the same time reinforced greed, envy and avarice . Our Western culture - influenced by religion - but has different principles and sees avarice is a vice.
The "western world" is so well developed that it would be sufficient that only 15 hours per week is worked and everyone would be still satisfied . You would not get less money. "...The material conditions of the good life already exist, at least in the affluent parts of the world , but that the blind pursuit of growth puts it continually out od reach.“ (Page 13)
The income has risen continuously in recent decades, but the happiness of the people has not kept pace. The rich have become even richer. "in the 1970 the pay of a top American CEO was under 30 times that of the average worker; today it is 263 times." (Page 30)
The authors confront questions such as "What is wealth for? How much money do we need to lead a good life?" (Page 5)
The authors are not compliant with the classic environmentalists to make the growth responsible for climate change. They even think that "It might rather require us to persevere with growth, so as to finance the technologies needed to mitigate ist consequences.“ (Page 124)
It is in this book not only criticized but also delivered approaches. About the "basic goods":
1 Basic goods are universal, that is, they belong to a good life itself. (Page 150)
2 Basic goods are final, which means they are good in themselves and not merely as means to something else, that's good. (Page 151)
3 Basic goods are sui generis, ... they are not part of other good things. (Page 152)
4 Basic goods are indispensable for anyone ... they do not have , is considered a serious loss or disadvantage. (Page 152)
They also define "good things" :
1 Health ( = full function of the body )
2 security
3 respect
4 personality
5 harmony
6 friendship
7 leisure
In realizing these basic goods - according to the authors - you have a good life.
Father and son taking a stand for a basic income , "paid by the state to each full member or accredited resident of a society, regardless of wheather he or she wishes to engage in paid employment, or is rich or poor …“ (page 197)
For a better life and the consumer pressure has to be reduced. "Because we work mainly to consume, so the less we want to consume, the less we want to work.“ (Page 202)
Since advertising is fueling the consumer pressure, the authors propose a regulation of advertising.
At the end makes you free to the reader to decide for themselves what they think of the proposals made . But it was important, "The gre now confronting us is not one of money but of human possibilities.“ (Page 218)
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