UZH-Logo

Maintenance Infos

"Economic possibilities for our grandchildren" 75 years after: a global perspective


Zilibotti, Fabrizio (2008). "Economic possibilities for our grandchildren" 75 years after: a global perspective. In: Pecchi, L; Piga, G. Revisiting Keynes: economic possibilities for our grandchildren. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press, 27-40.

Abstract

In the heart of the Great Crisis, amidst great uncertainty and concerns surrounding the future of capitalism, John Maynard Keynes launched his optimistic prophecy that growth and technological change would allow mankind to solve its economic problem within a century. He envisioned a world where people would work much less and be less oppressed by the satisfaction of material needs. He made quantitative statements predicting that “the standard of life in
progressive countries one hundred years hence will be between four and eight times as high...” as in his time. And he wrote about worktime that “...a fifteen-hour week may put off the problem for a great while.” He also expected the new era to bring about “great changes in
the code of morals”, such that the new society will “honour those who can teach (us) how to pluck the hour and the day virtuously and well, the delightful people who are capable of taking direct enjoyment in things....”
To what extent have his predictions turned out to be accurate? Economic growth indeed resumed during the 1930s, but the conflagration of World War II was soon to come. Yet, after the end of the war, the engine of growth restarted, and the world thereafter underwent an
unprecedented transformation. And people today indeed spend a smaller fraction of their lives in work activity. However, there are large differences in both standards of living and attitudes towards work across countries and individuals.
In this essay, I assess Keynes’ forecasts from a global perspective. In the first section, I review and discuss the growth experience of the world in the second half of the Twentieth Century. Next, I discuss Keynes’ predictions about working time and leisure. Finally, I conclude.

In the heart of the Great Crisis, amidst great uncertainty and concerns surrounding the future of capitalism, John Maynard Keynes launched his optimistic prophecy that growth and technological change would allow mankind to solve its economic problem within a century. He envisioned a world where people would work much less and be less oppressed by the satisfaction of material needs. He made quantitative statements predicting that “the standard of life in
progressive countries one hundred years hence will be between four and eight times as high...” as in his time. And he wrote about worktime that “...a fifteen-hour week may put off the problem for a great while.” He also expected the new era to bring about “great changes in
the code of morals”, such that the new society will “honour those who can teach (us) how to pluck the hour and the day virtuously and well, the delightful people who are capable of taking direct enjoyment in things....”
To what extent have his predictions turned out to be accurate? Economic growth indeed resumed during the 1930s, but the conflagration of World War II was soon to come. Yet, after the end of the war, the engine of growth restarted, and the world thereafter underwent an
unprecedented transformation. And people today indeed spend a smaller fraction of their lives in work activity. However, there are large differences in both standards of living and attitudes towards work across countries and individuals.
In this essay, I assess Keynes’ forecasts from a global perspective. In the first section, I review and discuss the growth experience of the world in the second half of the Twentieth Century. Next, I discuss Keynes’ predictions about working time and leisure. Finally, I conclude.

Citations

Altmetrics

Downloads

195 downloads since deposited on 13 Nov 2008
17 downloads since 12 months
Detailed statistics

Additional indexing

Item Type:Book Section, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Banking and Finance
03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Language:English
Date:September 2008
Deposited On:13 Nov 2008 08:17
Last Modified:14 Sep 2016 13:36
Publisher:MIT Press
ISBN:0-262-16249-0
Official URL:http://mitpress.mit.edu/catalog/item/default.asp?ttype=2&tid=11658&mode=toc
Related URLs:http://www.recherche-portal.ch/primo_library/libweb/action/search.do?fn=search&mode=Advanced&vid=ZAD&vl%28186672378UI0%29=isbn&vl%281UI0%29=contains&vl%28freeText0%29=0-262-16249-0
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-3966

Download

[img]
Preview
Content: Accepted Version
Filetype: PDF
Size: 1MB

TrendTerms

TrendTerms displays relevant terms of the abstract of this publication and related documents on a map. The terms and their relations were extracted from ZORA using word statistics. Their timelines are taken from ZORA as well. The bubble size of a term is proportional to the number of documents where the term occurs. Red, orange, yellow and green colors are used for terms that occur in the current document; red indicates high interlinkedness of a term with other terms, orange, yellow and green decreasing interlinkedness. Blue is used for terms that have a relation with the terms in this document, but occur in other documents.
You can navigate and zoom the map. Mouse-hovering a term displays its timeline, clicking it yields the associated documents.

Author Collaborations