Annals of the Fondazione Luigi Einaudi

An Interdisciplinary Journal of Economics, History and Political Science

The Annals is a forum for the free exchange of ideas
among scholars working in the field of social sciences
Volume LIII 2 - 2019

Keynes’s Aristotelian Eudaimonic Conception of Happiness and the Requirement of Material and Institutional Preconditions: The Scope for Economics and Economic Policy

Anna Carabelli,
pp. 213-226
Cite this article as


Keynes’s notion of happiness is connected with Greek tragedy, with moral and rational dilemmas, i.e with indecision and uncertainty. It is associated with virtue: a virtuous man is a happy man. Keynes’s ethics is an ethics of virtues. It emphasises the importance of friendship, moral emotions and pays precise attention to the contextual particularity of right action. A good life is a life worth being lived, that is a moral life. Keynes accepts the Aristotelian notion of the good and happy life. His notion of happiness recalls Aristotle’s happiness (“eudaimonia”). For Keynes, speculative ethics deals with final ends, intrinsic values and happiness. While practical ethics deals with conduct and means. In his ethics, Keynes makes a distinction between good as instrument (practical ethics) and good in itself (speculative ethics). Economics and politics belong to good as instrument, as a means. The difference is between ends and means, between the good and the useful. Solving the economic problem” is only a transitory phase: it is merely a precondition – a means – for facing the ‘real’ ethical problems, which, for Keynes, concern with the achievement of a good and happy life. Solving the economic problem (the satisfaction of the individuals’ material needs) is a material precondition for happiness. Keynes is in line with Aristotle’s view on the material requirements for happiness: a starving or an unemployed person cannot be happy.
  • Sraffa versus Keynes on the Method of Economics: Measurement, Homogeneity and Independence

    Anna Carabelli
    Volume LII 2 - 2018 pp. 137-168
    Cite this article as DOI: 10.26331/1058
  • J.M. Keynes: The Modernity of an Un-Modern Economist

    Anna Carabelli, Mario Cedrini, Roberto Marchionatti
    Volume LI 1 - 2017 pp. 17-54
    Cite this article as DOI: 10.26331/1002
  • What is Essential about Keynes Today?

    Robert Skidelsky
    Volume LI 1 - 2017 pp. 7-16
    Cite this article as DOI: 10.26331/1001
  • One Size Fits All? Well-being, Measurement and Growth

    Andrew E. Clark and Conchita D'Ambrosio
    Volume LIII 2 - 2019 pp. 101-114
    Cite this article as DOI: 10.26331/1085
  • Beyond the Homo Economicus

    Leonardo Becchetti
    Volume LIII 2 - 2019 pp. 115-142
    Cite this article as DOI: 10.26331/1086
  • Happiness, Human Development and Economic (De)Growth

    Maurizio Pugno
    Volume LIII 2 - 2019 pp. 151-172
    Cite this article as DOI: 10.26331/1088
  • Broadening the Scope of Economic History: How Happiness Has Changed over the Long Period and its Relationship with Economics

    Emanuele Felice
    Volume LIII 2 - 2019 pp. 173-192
    Cite this article as DOI: 10.26331/1089
  • Against ‘English Happiness’: Pigou’s Ethical Quest and Nietzsche

    Daniela Donnini Macciò
    Volume LIII 2 - 2019 pp. 193-212
    Cite this article as DOI: 10.26331/1090