Tag Archives: Keynes

The Coming Leisure Society: What if Money Didn’t Matter?

Leisure SocietyImagine you lived in a perfect society where you had enough food, clothing and shelter so you didn’t need to struggle to make a living. You’d have access to education, entertainment and a reasonable amount of goods and services. You’d be comfortable, but not rich in the conventional sense. If all your immediate needs were met and you didn’t have to work many hours, what would you do with your time?

This might seem like a pointless question to ask, but I believe it is a critical one of the 21st Century.

The Leisure Society

Back in 1930, during the great depression, the economist John Maynard Keynes wrote about a coming age of leisure and abundance.

I would predict that the standard of life in progressive countries one hundred years hence will be between four and eight times as high as it is to-day. There would be nothing surprising in this even in the light of our present knowledge.

Keynes was predicting that it would be possible to get to 15 hour workweeks by 2030 just from slow gradual improvements in productivity. After 83 years, it doesn’t seem like we’ve made much progress towards that age of leisure, however, …