Showing posts from April 28, 2006

At the movies

In 1930, legendary economist John Maynard Keynes published an essay called "Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren." Keynes surmised that the main problem of Americans today would be what to do with our copious leisure time.
Keynes figured productivity would surge (correct), wages would rise (of course), and people could do more in less time (yes). We'd wind up with all this time to hang around. This would lead to pool halls, Hummers and Hooters restaurants. I'm telling you, the man was uncanny.
However, the central claim of Keynes’s essay failed to come true, even though it rested on logic as simple as one plus one equals two: The little work that needed to be done would be spread out among the population in portions of perhaps fifteen hours per week, because “everybody needs to do some work if he is to be contented.” Keynes spent a large part of the essay discussing the promise and difficulty of adjusting to life when we are freed from the struggle for subsiste…