John Kenneth Galbraith, 1908-2006

From the New York Times:

He wrote two more major books in the 50’s dealing with economics, but both were aimed at a large general audience. Both were best sellers.
In “The Great Crash 1929,” he rattled the complacent, recalled the mistakes of an earlier day and suggested that some were being repeated as the book appeared, in 1955. Mr. Galbraith testified at a Senate hearing and said that another crash was inevitable. The stock market dropped sharply that day, and he was widely blamed.
“The Affluent Society” appeared in 1958, making Mr. Galbraith known around the world. In it, he depicted a consumer culture gone wild, rich in goods but poor in the social services that make for community. He argued that America had become so obsessed with overproducing consumer goods that it had increased the perils of both inflation and recession by creating an artificial demand for frivolous or useless products, by encouraging overextension of consumer credit and by emphasizing the private sector at the expense of the public sector. He declared that this obsession with products like the biggest and fastest automobile damaged the quality of life in America by creating “private opulence and public squalor.”

Posted by on April 30th, 2006 at 7:43 am

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