Noreena Hertz being appointed as an economic editor has rather surprised some. But it's also led to this very good description of the purpose of politics:
Yet the traditional Tory and the modern Leftist nihilist have something important in common: both thought the point of politics was different from this. That was why the Tory thought everything was going to pot when democracy was expanding, and why the leftist nihilist thinks everything has gone to pot now when democracy has long been in place. Neither understood the purpose of politics as the facilitation of people going about their everyday business, making things, making money and making love. They thought the point of politics was to overthrow and oppose the natural products of orderly, peaceful life. That was why the Tory feared it and that is why the leftist nihilist sees it as having failed.
We entirely agree with that central thought: the purpose of politics is to enable people in what people wish to do. And we would extend it too: that's also the purpose of economics, the study of it and the management of the economy that results.
We're not trying and should not be trying to make people do whatever. We should be solely and only enabling people to do whatever it is that they wish. If it turns out that people would rather take higher incomes as more leisure rather than greater amounts of goods and services then so be it, ever rising GDP be damned. Further, if some people would work 30 hours a week and others 50 then leave them to it: it's their life and their choice.
In fact, this is the entire point of the liberal world order: to maximise the ability of people, individually and en masse, to maximise their utility in whatever manner enters their pretty little heads. The whole idea is to facilitate, not manage nor direct.