May 30th 2023
“Without necessarily realizing it, our daily lives are increasingly shaped by powerful economic forces which we might not even know about. Over the past decades, these forces have acted with varying degrees of speed, and understanding them now is essential if we are to govern them through our personal and political choices.”
These issues don’t just affect us, but generations in the future. Together we can face the issue of making growth compatible with environmental constraints, the need for monetary stability, and the consequences of eventual deglobalization.
“We have been dreaming for too long, instead of doing the necessary work to make those dreams a reality. It’s true that there’s still time, but now is the time to realize that dreaming is not enough.”
Carlo Cottarelli recounts the stories of seven great dreams, visions, or more simply “chimeras.” These dreams were imagined and realized by visionary reformers, men and women with the will to change the world. Yet the line between a dream and utopian idea is often thin. Many of the brilliant ideas here, when confronted with reality, took an unexpected turn: something went wrong.
In human affairs, after all, paths can often get bumpy, things can get out of hand, and results turn out to be disappointing or involve undesirable side effects. This book explores the stakes of their success, as well as their failure.
What are these chimeras? The rise and fall of the libertarian dream of cryptocurrencies, the technocratic dream of central bank independence to defeat inflation, the financialization of the world to increase the growth capacity of the global economy, the abolition of drudgery in labor through technology and low productivity, the dream of a globalized world without barriers, the illusion of infinite growth that’s incompatible with the environment, the flat tax and all the strategies to create tax cuts.
CARLO COTTARELLI is among the best-known Italian economists at an international level. He was director of the Fiscal Affairs department of the International Monetary Fund and today holds the position of Director of the Education Program in Economics and Social Sciences at the Università Cattolica of Milan.