A recent misstatement of this book’s title in a public forum got me thinking. Could there be such a thing as a “celebration economy”?
In a sense, it already exists. Tourism is the 6th largest industry worldwide, and tourism is often interwoven with celebration. From that standpoint, a case can be made.
On the other hand, as I’ve argued in the book, economics is a system that exists to allocate scarcity. As scarcity goes away, the utility of economics also diminishes.
We called the book A Celebration Society because, in our view, Celebrationism–a system that extols and exalts celebration as a core focus of society–must have two aspects. Those aspects are production and government.
Celebration is not itself the system of production, nor is it the system of government. Instead, we have used best available evidence, coupled to ongoing process improvement and distributed production to enable automatic production of the necessities. In our view, only such a condition of sustainable, technological opulence–as imagined by Adam Smith when he wrote his Wealth of Nations–can practicably elevate human life to a permanently higher level on Maslow’s Pyramid.
People whose needs for income have essentially been met still have a need for meaning. Superstars in diverse fields, from business to science to medicine to sport, all have been quoted as saying that they continue to excel “for the love of the game”. In one form or another, the ongoing desire for recognition motivates most such people. In a Celebration Society, people will continue to win recognition for all manner of activities that inspire and uplift others. Such will be the focus of frequent, regular celebrations; from the local to the national.
We could have called it the Recognition Economy. But, somehow, A Celebration Society sounds more fun.