This is the most eloquent and convincing case for the study of the humanities I’ve read. Although the humanities have been displaced from their former role of prominence, Bloch reminds us that the wisdom, insights and applications they provide will never become obsolete.
One notices it might have been beneficial had more of the players in our irrational markets read their Homer, Dante, Dickens, or Balzac. There are no guarantees, of course, but greed and appetite have been exposed in literature and moral philosophy since the ancient Greeks. Nor has modern thought neglected this important subject. More education via Locke, Rousseau, Hobbes, or John Stuart Mill, or a serious course of Gibbon, Marx, or Tocqueville, could have helped some particular individuals and their institutions gain some purchase upon the consequences–or at least the feasibility–of their actions. It is doubtful whether the greediest would have taken the time to read great works of literature, philosophy, or history, but that is another question. For they might have learned from the philosophers about our obligations to each other or the necessity for external regulation of limitless human appetite. From the litany of lost fortunes and illusions to be found in fiction, they might have discovered the tools necessary for assessing one’s own motivations and character along with the motivations and character of others. From historians, they might have recognized the unlikely chances of beating certain historical cycles and odds.