John Kenneth Galbraith

From Academic Kids

John Kenneth Galbraith, OC (born October 15, 1908) is the most widely-read economist of the twentieth century. The author of four dozen books and over one thousand articles, he was on the faculty of Harvard University from 1934 to 1975, and served in the administrations of Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Baines Johnson. From 1961 to 1963, he served as Ambassador to India. Although he is a former president of the American Economic Association, Galbraith is considered something of an iconoclast by many mainstream economists (he is loathed by conservative economists)because he eschews mathematical modeling in favor of political economy. He is also an "old-fashioned" Keynesian with progressive values and a gift for writing, and produced scores of popular books on economic topics in which he describes ways in which economic theory does not always mesh with real life. Publication in 2004 of a highly-praised biography, John Kenneth Galbraith: His Life, His Politics, His Economics has renewed widespread interest in his career and his ideas.



Galbraith was born in Iona Station, Ontario. He graduated from the Ontario Agricultural College (now University of Guelph) and then got an M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley.

During World War II, Galbraith was America's "price czar", charged with keeping inflation from crippling the war effort. He served brillliantly as deputy head of the Office of Price Administration. At the end of the war, he was asked to carry out a survey of US and allied strategic bombing, and concluded that it served no use and did not shorten the war. After the war, he became an advisor to post-war administrations in Germany and Japan.

In 1949, Galbraith was appointed professor of economics at Harvard University. He also served as editor of Fortune.

He was a friend of President John F. Kennedy and was appointed by Kennedy as U.S. ambassador to India from 1961 to 1963. There he attempted to aid the Indian government with developing its economy. While in India, he helped establish one of the first computer science departments at the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh.

In 1997 he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada.


In American Capitalism: The concept of countervailing power, a seminal work published in 1952, Galbraith outlines how the American economy in the future would be managed by a triumvirate of big business, big labour, and an activist government. He contrasted this with the previous pre-depression era where big business had free rein over the economy.

In another work, The Affluent Society, which became a bestseller, Galbraith outlines his view that to be successful the United States would need to make large public investments in items such as highways and education. In this work, he says, he coined the phrase "conventional wisdom." In The New Industrial State (1967), he argues that very few industries in the United States fit the model of perfect competition. The third work in this triumvirate was Economics and the Public Purpose (1973), in which he expanded on these themes by discussing, among other issues, the subservient role of women in the unrewarded management of ever-greater consumption, and the role of the technostructure in the large firm in influencing perceptions of sound economic policy aims . In A Short History of Financial Euphoria (1990), he traces financial bubbles through several centuries, and cautions that what currently seems to be "the next great thing" may not be that great and may have quite irrational factors promoting it.

Galbraith's son, James K. Galbraith, is also a prominent economist.


  • "Faced with the choice between changing one's mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everybody gets busy on the proof."
  • "If you feed enough oats to the horse, some will pass through to feed the sparrows." - in relation to trickle-down economics
  • "Under capitalism, man exploits man. Under communism, it's just the opposite."
  • "The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable."
  • "The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."

Partial bibliography

  • Modern Competition and Business Policy, 1938.
  • A Theory of Price Control, 1952.
  • American Capitalism: The concept of countervailing power, 1952.
  • The Great Crash, 1929, 1954.
  • The Affluent Society, 1958.
  • The Liberal Hour, 1960
  • The New Industrial State, 1967.
  • The Triumph (a novel), 1968.
  • Ambassador's Journal, 1969.
  • Economics, Peace and Laughter, 1972.
  • Power and the Useful Economist, 1973, AER
  • Economics and the Public Purpose, 1973
  • Money: Whence It Came, Where It Went, 1975.
  • The Age of Uncertainty (also a BBC 13 part television series), 1977.
  • Annals of an Abiding Liberal, 1979.
  • A Life in Our Times, 1981.
  • A Tenured Professor, 1990.
  • A Journey Through Economic Time, 1994.
  • The Good Society: the humane agenda, 1996.
  • The Economics of Innocent Fraud, 2004.
  • The Essential Galbraith," 2001

See also


External links

  • The most comprehensive biography of Galbraith [1] (
  • Other (
  • [2] ( Short online Galbraith biographyca:John Kenneth Galbraith

de:John Kenneth Galbraith es:John Kenneth Galbraith pt:John Kenneth Galbraith


Academic Kids Menu

  • Art and Cultures
    • Art (
    • Architecture (
    • Cultures (
    • Music (
    • Musical Instruments (
  • Biographies (
  • Clipart (
  • Geography (
    • Countries of the World (
    • Maps (
    • Flags (
    • Continents (
  • History (
    • Ancient Civilizations (
    • Industrial Revolution (
    • Middle Ages (
    • Prehistory (
    • Renaissance (
    • Timelines (
    • United States (
    • Wars (
    • World History (
  • Human Body (
  • Mathematics (
  • Reference (
  • Science (
    • Animals (
    • Aviation (
    • Dinosaurs (
    • Earth (
    • Inventions (
    • Physical Science (
    • Plants (
    • Scientists (
  • Social Studies (
    • Anthropology (
    • Economics (
    • Government (
    • Religion (
    • Holidays (
  • Space and Astronomy
    • Solar System (
    • Planets (
  • Sports (
  • Timelines (
  • Weather (
  • US States (


  • Home Page (
  • Contact Us (

  • Clip Art (
Personal tools