I’ve been reading David Graeber’s “Bullshit Jobs” which I got into after reading his essay on it a few years ago (here). At the time I was struck by the comments from Keynes (Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren – here), who believed that in 100 years, technological developments will be such that all activities will be conducted by machine’s and so humans would only choose to work around 3 hours a day. Keynes believed that people would still choose to work a little amount – witnessed by the fact that at the time, the wives of the very rich, often spent some time doing charitable work – so that we have a sense of purpose and because some jobs are enjoyable. [...]
Deidre McCloskey, the eminent economic historian whom some of you may know as Donald, before her illustrious transition in the 1990s, recently gave a talk to the Legatum Institute on her ideas of Bourgeoisie Capitalism.
When asked to summarise her thesis into a few words, she said “let people have a go”. She believes that economic growth doesn’t stem from institutions or capital accumulation – although these may be necessary – but the real reason arises from market power embetterment: if people believe that hard work can improve their situation then they will do so. This counters the Weber theory: that protestant virtue of savings and hard work allowed for a pool of investable money to expand the capital stock, along with a pool of hard workers and entrepreneurs which created unparalleled economic growth. [...]
Paul Mason today gave a ‘sermon’ (they even made us sing hymns!) on what he describes as Post-Capitalism. Without yet having read his book I wanted to address a few of his points based on his talk. Therefore some of my issues and criticisms may be cleared up at a later date. I find it ironic that he describes post-capitalism as being based on the shareholder economy which arises through voluntarism, yet the talk cost £20 per ticket and was followed by a book sign afterwards, which was also sold – but hey, we haven’t reached the post-capitalist state yet!
My first criticism with the whole idea (I think the same as Iain Martin’s) is that he seems to describe capitalism as an ideology, when in fact it is simply a system to distribute scarce resources. [...]