Contributors: O'Neill, John (University of Manchester)
John O'Neill currently is director of the Political Economy Institute. He is on the editorial boards of a number of journals including New Political Economy, The Journal of Applied Philosophy, Environmental Values, and Historical Materialism. He has been involved in a number of European projects on environmental policy.
Direktor des Instituts für politische Ökonomie an der Universität Manchester. Er ist Mitglied der Redaktion bei mehreren Fachzeitschriften, u.a. bei New Political Ecnomy, dem Journal of Applied Philosophy und Historical Materialism. Er hat bei verschiedenen europäischen Projekten zu Umweltpolitik gearbeitet.
Consumption, well-being and growth
Abstract: Recent debates on growth, consumption, and happiness have seen the renewal of an ancient controversy: Are there bounds to the goods required for a flourishing life? The classical answer to that question shared in Aristotelian and Epicurean traditions was that such bounds do exist. That answer survives into some central texts of modern economics, most notably Ramsey’s influential paper on saving which still informs basic economic discussion of intergenerational saving. Ramsey assumes that there is a ‘maximum obtainable rate of enjoyment or utility’ which he terms ‘Bliss’ (Ramsey, 1928, p.545). The assumption of non-satiation in the more recent economics denies that claim: ‘Appropriation has no natural upper bound. Economic man seeks more.’ (Gauthier 1986, p. 318). This paper defends the classical perspective. It examines the concepts of consumption, well-being and growth in order to characterise and defend forms of degrowth that are consistent with increasing well-being.