More on needs

This is what Keynes has to say about needs in the  essay “Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren” (Essays in Persuasion (1931), the entirety of the piece is worth reading):

Now it is true that the needs of human beings may seem to be insatiable.  But they fall into two classes-those needs which are absolute in the sense that we feel them whatever the situation of our fellow human beings may be, and those which are relative in the sense that we feel them only if their satisfaction lifts us above, makes us feel superior to, our fellows.  Needs of the second class, those which satisfy the desire for superiority, may indeed be insatiable; for the higher the general level, the higher still are they.  But this is not so true of the absolute needs-a point may soon be reached, much sooner perhaps than we are all of us aware of, when these needs are satisfied in the sense that we prefer to devote our further energies to non-economic purposes.

Now for my conclusion, which you will find, I think, to become more and more startling to the imagination the longer you think about it.

I draw the conclusion that, assuming no important wars and no important increase in population, the economic problem  may be solved, or be at least within sight of solution, within a hundred years.  This means that the economic problem is not-if we look into the future-the permanent problem of the human race.

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One Response to “More on needs”

  1. NR Says:

    Keynes is okay, but what does your wife think?

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