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The limits of abundance

In an age of unbridled consumerism and plenty (in which however all the cracks are starting to show), it is worth asking the question seriously “how much is abundance?”, i.e. what is the “right” limit in the pursuit, for example, of profit, buying goods, the boldest commercial strategies and market, corporate and personal success. We live immersed in the market economy which is now presenting us with the bill which one way or the other has to be paid.

The means of doing this in the best possible way, achieving not so much a different economy but above all a “good life”, is taught to us by an increasingly well-populated group of thinkers. How Much is Enough by Robert and Edward Skidelsky (father and son, the former an economist at the University of Warwick, the latter a philosopher with the University of Exeter) represents a rare example of a breakneck journey along an unusual, appealing, closely packed and surprising road towards the finishing line of new economic and social set-ups, a more advanced way of conducting business and a modern and sustainable market concept.

The two Skidelskys accompany the reader as good advocates who knowledgably handle the divisible whole of their two subjects using a light yet precise style of writing, rich yet within everyone’s reach. Starting with a famous essay by John Maynard Keynes, Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren, the authors explore the birth and the growth of the current market and production system, the rise of entrepreneurship and of questions linked to profit, the economics and philosophy steps to be taken to give meaning to everything. Economics and corporate culture are connected to social changes, the latter to the development of the needs for tangible and intangible sustenance, all this in order to arrive at a series of elements for a new life made up of material and (above all) immaterial essential goods. Some of the top names in economics and philosophy of the last century act as guides along the journey.

Quanto è abbastanza

Robert e Edward Skidelsky

Mondadori, 2013