How Much is Enough?: Money and the Good Life (2012) 3 stars

Review of 'How Much is Enough?: Money and the good life' by Robert and Edward Skidelsky

3 stars

Interesting book with strong and weak arguments. The chapter on happiness economics confirmed a lot of skepticism I had about being able to measure an emotional state as unclear and culturally-dependent as happiness. I'd add that these measurements are often designed around a Western frame where happiness tends to be defined as the ultimate good (which the authors also are critical of) and would therefore influence the responses people might give in non-trivial ways.

I also liked the authors' definition of their prescriptions as non-coercive paternalism. It puts into words the type of policy that would seem to bring about the most benefit without infringing on individual liberties.

This book also sharpened my frustration with neoliberalism in learning that for all the growth in GDP it brought, it still failed to translate that growth in any way towards access to basic goods. In retrospect, this is a pretty obvious point …