The Library Basement
Reading under ground

Tag economy

What's an economy for?

It feels almost embarrassingly cliche to mention that the Greek word from which our word "economy" is derived means "housekeeping." I think that regardless of what "economy" means in today's English, this etymology can be a helpful lens through which we examine our economic systems.

To state it in the form of a question: what's an economy for? Very few would be so naive to answer "to make money," but that is often what the purpose of today's economy feels like to me. To be fair, personal wealth cannot be totally separated from the proper goals of an economy. But I think the pursuit of wealth should not ever come ahead of those goals.

To me, good housekeeping has to do with good food, clothing, shelter, strong families and neighborhoods, bodily health, good stewardship of resources, hospitality, amusement, etc. "Good" is of course the operative term there. A "good" house is not necessarily a big, new, or fancy house. I find it odd that we could achieve in good measure the goals of good housekeeping with a much smaller economy. I'm not sure what the significance of that is.