"I think the dominant note of our time is unreality. The thin air of the music we all heard has died away. It lasted a long time, certainly several decades, but the best rule is: When the music stops, forget the old music." - Adam Smith, The Money Game.
The unreal is thought, imagination, passion, belief.
"Stone crumbles. Wood rots. People, well, they die. But things as fragile as a thought, a dream, a legend, they can go on and on." - Chuck Palahniuk
The unreal can go on and on and on, until the music stops. In Money Game, Smith writes that times of crusading spirits are times of unreality, and 'crusades don't have the elements of durability.'
One of our longest running crusades has been the idea that we are supposed to be rich. That wealth is the measure of our value and contribution to society. That it must be the metric by which we compare ourselves, because we live in a world of finite resources insufficient to cater to everyone's needs. It's a hierarchy by design. One we call the economic problem.
"You ought to be...Because money is the way we keep score. This feeling has been a long time in the making. It goes away sometimes in depressions, when briefly wealth becomes suspect..." - Adam Smith.
Yet it was in fact Keynes, the famous economist responsible for supply and demand who argued in his 1931 essay, “Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren", that the economic problem was not meant to be a permanent one.
"Assuming no important wars and no important increase in population, the economic problem may be solved, or be at least within sight of solution, within a hundred years [in 2031]. This means that the economic problem is not-if we look into the future-the permanent problem of the human race." - John Maynard Keynes
The permanent problem?
How to use our freedoms and leisure time, 'which science and compound interest will have won for him, to live wisely and agreeably and well.' And when accumulation of wealth is no longer the number one goal:
It will be those peoples, who can keep alive, and cultivate into a fuller perfection, the art of life itself and do not sell themselves for the means of life, who will be able to enjoy the abundance when it comes. - Keynes