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An End to Scarcity? Keynes’s Moral Critique of Capitalism and Its Ambiguous Legacy

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Abstract

Keynes holds out in “Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren” [EPG] the viable prospect of abrogating scarcity. He finds capitalism to be bound by moral shortcomings yet indispensable in achieving the full satisfaction of absolute human needs. This article explores the tensions expressed in Keynes’s critique of capitalism that are integral to his case for an end to scarcity. Keynes finds the “love of money” morally repugnant and anticipates its extinction. He invokes traditional Christian values constraining avarice and usury, yet finds the pursuit of economic gain necessary for a time. EPG offers the prospect of the attainment of higher moral ends with the termination of scarcity and capitalism. Examples of modern interpretations extending the ambiguous legacy of Keynes’s critique of capitalism are considered.

Edd Noell, "An End to Scarcity? Keynes's Moral Critique of Capitalism and Its Ambiguous Legacy," Journal of Markets & Morality 20, no. 1 (Spring 2017): 39-53

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