Contemporary Post Keynesian Analysis
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Contemporary Post Keynesian Analysis

Edited by L. Randall Wray and Mathew Forstater

Original articles by leading scholars of post Keynesian economics make up this authoritative collection. Current topics of the greatest interest are covered, such as: perspectives on current economic policy; post Keynesian approaches to monetary theory and policy; economic development, growth and inflation; Kaleckian perspectives on distribution; economic methodology; and history of heterodox economic theory. The contributors explore a variety of prevailing issues including: wage bargaining and monetary policy in the EMU; the meaning of money in the internet age; stability conditions for small open economies; and economic policies of sustainable development in countries transitioning to a market economy. Other enduring matters are examined through the lens of economic theorists – Kaleckian dynamics and evolutionary life cycles; a comparison between Keynes’s and Hayek’s economic theories; and an analysis of the power of the firm based on the work of Joan Robinson, to name a few.
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Chapter 2: Public Debt and Private Wealth

Hassan Bougrine

Extract

2. Public debt and private wealth* Hassan Bougrine INTRODUCTION Even though economic theory recognizes health, knowledge and education as important elements of human wealth, in popular debates on wealth the general focus is still on the acquisition of physical and financial assets. For instance, the Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary defines wealth as ‘the stock of useful goods having economic value in existence at any one time’. This definition reflects the widespread importance of material wealth in the lives of individuals in contemporary (capitalist) societies. Aside from some perverse needs that may be qualified as sheer greed, it is clear that the purpose of seeking to accumulate such wealth is justified by the desire to ensure our well-being throughout our lifetime, as well as that of our offsprings. The question of why some people are stupendously rich while others are extremely poor has always been at the centre of the debate on social issues. At the heart of the debate is the issue of equal opportunities to acquire wealth. While in aristocracies wealth is concentrated in the hands of a few and passed on to their descendants and heirs, in democratic societies we expect everyone to enjoy the comforts of the good life that wealth provides. In reviewing Tocqueville’s (1835 [1966]) work, Robert Goodin (2001, p. 68) summarized what he considers Tocqueville’s major distinctions between ‘democratic wealth’ and ‘aristocratic wealth’: a) whereas aristocratic wealth is inherited, democratic wealth is earned. Democracies offer ‘equal opportunities’ in...

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