Entrepreneurship, knowledge and employment

Momo: an analysis of technical progress and productivity by Michael Ende.

Castaño María-Soledad, Universidad de Castiila-La Mancha

Momo is a novel by the German writer Michael Ende. Despite being regarded as children’s literature, the book reflects the change in values in modern societies, where the productive system is obsessed with saving time by means of mechanising production and better time organisation. The obsession that the author describes in his book for the time and the increase of the productivity, have been analysed by different Economic Thought contributions when considering the time as an economic good. Thus, time is considered a scarce resource which has to be saved. Thus, Adam Smith introduces time in his value theory and, also, the division of labour as a mechanism to increase productivity. Afterwards, R. Frisch considered the time as an essential variable that determined productivity and influenced the increase in the final product. The main character is a girl called Momo, who is the only person to notice the change happening in society. The change in values is represented by the Men in Grey who steal time from people by convincing them that if they save time in the present, in the future they will have more time to do what makes them happy. However in reality the time disappears. The time concept that defines Michael Ende, and its implications, are adjusted to the idea of time introduced by Keynes where what is important is the present, like it can deduce of his statement "In the long run we are all dead". In addition, when describing the change of values that is taking place, the classic dilemma of the choice between work and leisure appears. In this sense, Hicks introduces the time in his economic analysis as leisure good in utility function of consumer, this supposes the temporary distribution of economic activities. The author’s description of society also poses the question of whether technical progress is always positive, since on occasions, certain advances may deplete people’s creativity or lead them to renounce the social or family relationships that previously bro


Keywords: productivity, economic progress

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