I’ve just posted a paper I produced in 1998, which seems rather prescient. I made the point that the hidden growth of money was leading to fairly predictable changes (not for the better) in our economy and society. Here’s some excerpts from the introduction:
Although income inequality appears to be a fact of life there remains general agreement that there should be such a thing as social justice, if this is given to mean at least an approximation to equality of potential achievement. This apparent incompatibility can only be reconciled if money income is neither the only measure of human well-being and fulfilment nor the only means to achieving it. Yet it may well be that the fundamentals of the global financial and economic system are such as inevitably to both widen income inequality and also to increase the importance of money in achieving individual well-being and happiness.
In this paper I intend to demonstrate this in two ways. Firstly I suggest how particular changes in economic circumstances are likely to affect different groups of individuals based on our knowledge of the relationship between human well-being and income levels. I go on to extrapolate the likely socioeconomic consequences of this. Secondly I will look at the economic and social data over a particular time of marked economic change in the UK, the period roughly between 1980 and 1995, to show that the extrapolation made in the first section appears to be true.
On the assumption that these hypotheses continue to be supported by the empirical evidence, I suggest how the trends toward inequality and the increased importance of money might be ended or even reversed.
I will endeavour shortly to update the examination of trends in the paper.