How Much is Enough? by Robert Skidelsky

56%

11 Critic Reviews

If you ask someone to work half as long for half the pay, you should have better answers to his question: What shall I do with my new leisure?
-NY Times

Synopsis

A provocative and timely call for a moral approach to economics, drawing on philosophers, political theorists, writers, and economists from Aristotle to Marx to Keynes.

What constitutes the good life? What is the true value of money? Why do we work such long hours merely to acquire greater wealth? These are some of the questions that many asked themselves when the financial system crashed in 2008. This book tackles such questions head-on.
   The authors begin with the great economist John Maynard Keynes. In 1930 Keynes predicted that, within a century, per capita income would steadily rise, people’s basic needs would be met, and no one would have to work more than fifteen hours a week. Clearly, he was wrong: though income has increased as he envisioned, our wants have seemingly gone unsatisfied, and we continue to work long hours.
   The Skidelskys explain why Keynes was mistaken. Then, arguing from the premise that economics is a moral science, they trace the concept of the good life from Aristotle to the present and show how our lives over the last half century have strayed from that ideal. Finally, they issue a call to think anew about what really matters in our lives and how to attain it.
   How Much Is Enough? is that rarity, a work of deep intelligence and ethical commitment accessible to all readers. It will be lauded, debated, cited, and criticized. It will not be ignored.
 

About Robert Skidelsky

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Robert Skidelsky is Emeritus Professor of Political Economy at the University of Warwick. His biography of the economist John Maynard Keynes received numerous prizes, including the Lionel Gelber Prize for International Relations and the Council on Foreign Relations Prize for International Relations.Edward Skidelsky is a lecturer at Exeter University, specializing in aesthetics and moral philosophy. He contributes regularly to the New Statesman, Telegraph, and Prospect on philosophy, religion, and intellectual history.
 
Published June 19, 2012 by Other Press. 257 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Business & Economics, Religion & Spirituality, Law & Philosophy. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for How Much is Enough?
All: 11 | Positive: 5 | Negative: 6

Kirkus

Excellent
Reviewed by Kirkus Reviews on Jun 01 2012

...but the authors deliver powerful, timely material for Wall Street occupiers, public intellectuals, policy wonks and op-ed columnists.

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NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by RICHARD POSNER on Aug 17 2012

If you ask someone to work half as long for half the pay, you should have better answers to his question: What shall I do with my new leisure?

Read Full Review of How Much is Enough? | See more reviews from NY Times

Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by Larry Elliott on Jun 29 2012

But the main problem with this book is one of political agency. They make a series of sensible suggestions for how the good life could be attained...Where they are less convincing is in sketching out how these policies will be effected.

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Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by Giles Fraser on Jun 15 2012

Mostly, the Skidelskys are concentrated on the size of the pie and not so much on how the pie is cut up.

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The Independent

Excellent
Reviewed by JOY LO DICO on Jul 29 2012

The authors propose seven optimistic alternatives for a modern good life, using health, security, respect, personality, harmony with nature, friendship, and leisure as their parameters. There are a few specific suggestions...

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The Independent

Excellent
Reviewed by JON CRUDDAS on Jul 07 2012

In their thoughtful book they extend Keynes's ethical arguments beyond the Bloomsbury milieux of his time.

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The Telegraph

Below average
Reviewed by Alasdair Palmer on Jun 26 2012

But I think there is an even more fundamental difficulty at the heart of How Much is Enough? The authors start from the assumption that collectively, we already have enough money and consumer goods: we just need to stop working so hard...

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Washington Independent Review of Books

Excellent
Reviewed by Josh Trapani

The historical analysis is mostly first-rate, and the jarring disconnect between the Skidelskys’ solutions and the tenor of our national discussions...says a lot more about us than it does about the authors or the quality of many of their ideas.

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NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by Richard A. Posner on Aug 19 2012

If you ask someone to work half as long for half the pay, you should have better answers to his question: What shall I do with my new leisure?

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The Coffin Factory

Excellent
Reviewed by The Coffin Factory on Jun 29 2012

No, the problem is deeper, and the authors nail it perfectly when they write that the root of the problem is “the moral decay at the core of our system.”

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Mises Institute

Below average
Reviewed by David Gordon

The Skidelskys wring their hands in horror over lavish consumer spending, but they offer little reason to think that such spending impedes living a good life. To say that an abundance of goods is not required for a good life does not suffice.

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