Future Prosperity Panel

Author

Alain de Botton is a writer of essayistic books that have been described as a "philosophy of everyday life", and have been bestsellers in 30 countries. He published his first book at the age of 23 and his latest work, The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work, was published last year.

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Summary of essay

We can frankly admit that in the modern world, the saver is associated with miserliness, caution, bloodlessness and timidity. However it should be a joyful term, which makes the accumulation of capital an appealing prospect. While it is easy to despair at the challenge of altering perceptions of values rather than values themselves, history shows that we have reasons to be optimistic.

The task is to remind a society well versed in the advantages of spending money, of Adam Smith's defence of saving, and the fact that to save is not the opposite of spending, it is the precondition of spending - and therefore of all generosity. Therefore, it should be a joyful term evoking the most intelligent, stylish, ambitious and great-souled individuals we know.

It is the task of organisations that wish to promote saving to do nothing more than to remind us of the brute facts of capitalist economics. They must remind the public of the solid intellectual arguments for saving to reconnect with its social benefits.