In a recent essay, philosopher John Gray suggests that John Maynard Keynes, one of the most influential economists of the 20th Century, would not have supported the ‘simple minded’ view that the only way forward is through government stimulation of the economy to facilitate a return to growth.

The problem, Gray notes, isn’t just a deepening recession, but instead the breakdown of modern capitalism itself.

He suggests that complex interaction of the collapse of debt-based finance, fatal faults in the euro’s design, and an on-going shift of economic power from the west to the east and south, have created a 21st century crisis that 20th century Keynesian policies cannot fix.

Transiting Pluto in Capricorn (2008 – 2024) suggests exactly the same thing.

Astrologically, Pluto symbolizes natural cycles of evolution.  Pluto’s message is to let go of anything past its ‘sell-by’ date.  If you don’t, expect the worst.

Astrologically, Capricorn symbolizes structures – especially those put in place to create political order and economic stability.

The last time Pluto was in Capricorn (1762-1778), it addressed (1) the rearrangement of the power structure between individuals and their government, and (2) the start of the Industrial Revolution which so altered patterns of production and consumption as to give birth a ‘modern’ economy characterized by sustained and continuous growth.

Two hundred years later, Pluto returns to Capricorn and we’re forced readdress the same things.

Gray reminds us that Keynes was first and foremost a skeptic and that his most important message was to know when to let go of outmoded ideas.  Based on this, Gray suggests that with our ageing populations and overhang of debt, there’s little prospect of developed Western societies keeping up with the past.   He asks whether we’d be better off thinking about how to enjoy life in conditions of low growth?

Considering my experience with Pluto, I have to agree.

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