Sobre la traducción de Letter to our grandchildren de Keynes (via VersoBooks)
Nonetheless he did recognise that together with “absolute” needs (food, housing, etc.) there also exist relative needs (the desire to achieve higher status)…
Yes, but he only dwelled on absolute needs, and did not seem to accord much importance to other needs. He clearly under-estimated their power. But this is consistent enough with the analysis that he elaborates: in the society of abundance that he imagines, there will no longer be any basis for these needs, since they are linked to market interactions, which is indeed what he wants to escape from. Once material needs had been fully satisfied, we would be free to be fully human and to develop an authentic art of living.
What is utterly incongruous, here, is that while Keynes was a liberal economist, he conceived capitalism as nothing but a temporary stage in the development of humanity, whereas in general liberals consider it the finished and unsurpassable form of economic order.
The other surprising aspect of the text is the violence of the antagonism that he sets out between true human values and capitalism’s false values, such as the love of money. In his eyes, capitalism constitutes a sort of dark age, a “pre-history” during which human beings are constrained by resource scarcity. The true values can only impose themselves once we have broken out of an economics centred on subsistence and labour.