The Economics of Abundance

The Economics of Abundance

Affluent Consumption and the Global Economy

New Directions in Modern Economics series

Brendan Sheehan

This book addresses the challenge posed by J.K. Galbraith over 50 years ago to make a constructive contribution to a different style of economic analysis – the economics of abundance. It identifies a system of abundance inhabited by the ‘people of plenty’ and illustrates that the driver of growth in this system is spending by affluent consumers. This timely book provides essential heterodox economic theory to explain this spending and explore its key drivers and constraints.

Chapter 7: Implications

Brendan Sheehan

Subjects: business and management, entrepreneurship, economics and finance, institutional economics


A. INTRODUCTION The purpose of the economics of abundance is to address the economic dimension of the human condition of the people of plenty. This must be part of a wider research programme to study the economic dimensions of the human conditions experienced by all peoples. This programme will allow economists to more effectively analyse worldwide inequality – focusing not just on the poorest but the most affluent of the global community. The preceding six chapters are just a prelude, a contribution, to the development of the economics of abundance. Much remains to be added to this analysis and the content of this book implies, or suggests, a number of pathways for further academic development. These implications are considered in this chapter. They offer some analytical signposts for those that follow, but do not prescribe or proscribe future research programmes. Section B examines the implications for the subject matter of economics, which involves setting aside the Robbinsian frame of reference. Section C considers the implications for the traditional conception of the economic problem of production. It also makes some comments about the character of the corporation, and the possibility that this character might vary between economic systems. Section D examines the possibility that a fourth economic system should be categorised, separate from the system of abundance – that is the system of opulence inhabited by the people of luxury. Section E considers how the theory of consumption outlined in earlier chapters might be applied in different economic systems. Section F considers how...

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