By Richard Parker
John Kenneth Galbraith’s books—among them The prosperous Society and American Capitalism—are well-known for strong cause. Written by way of a student well known for lively political engagement and irrepressible wit, they're types of provocative reliable feel that warn prophetically of the risks of deregulated markets, battle in Asia, company greed, and stock-market bubbles. Galbraith’s paintings has additionally deeply—and controversially—influenced his personal career, and in Richard Parker’s fingers his biography turns into an essential reinterpretation of yank economics and public policy.
Born and raised on a small Canadian farm, Galbraith started instructing at Harvard in the course of the melancholy. He was once FDR’s “price czar” throughout the warfare after which a senior editor of Fortune before returning to Harvard and to repute as a bestselling author. Parker indicates how, from his early championing of Keynes to his acerbic research of America’s “private wealth and public squalor,” Galbraith frequently challenged winning theories and guidelines. And his account of Galbraith’s impressive friendship with John F. Kennedy, whom he served as a detailed consultant whereas ambassador to India, is mainly appropriate for its research of the serious, dynamic debates that economists and politicians may have over how the US may still deal with its wealth and tool. This masterful chronicle offers colour, intensity, and intending to the list of a unprecedented life.
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Additional info for John Kenneth Galbraith: His Life, His Politics, His Economics
Yet Keynes—and the conversations and controversies he provoked—gnawed at Galbraith, excited him, stored pushing him to confront a whole new international of economics, and a daring new conception that would in all likelihood impress swap within the actual international itself, not only between cosseted teachers. What to do? stick to the secure course or escape onto a brand new and dicy one? and the way might Galbraith even solution that question, how may he make the switch whether he made up our minds he desired to? What have been his credentials, his services not only in Keynesian idea (no one keep Keynes and a handful round him may perhaps declare “expertise” within the new conception but) yet in nonfarm economics? a number of articles? No school room adventure? No ebook, shop one released with a businessman? could Black remain his mentor and sponsor? may Harvard wish him, or conform to retain him? so much OF GALBRAITH’S younger colleagues have been not more yes than he the right way to continue after interpreting the final conception, but the e-book used to be, in Galbraith’s phrases, like “a tidal strength” sweeping throughout all their assumptions approximately monetary thought. Paul Samuelson, showing a potential for genteel literary allusion infrequent between economists, in comparison his personal response on first interpreting Keynes’s magnum opus that 12 months to the poet John Keats’s pleasure on first taking a look into Chapman’s Homer. 25 The response between lots of the department’s different graduate scholars and younger teachers used to be comparable. yet now not each person in economics used to be energetically or poetically wasting himself to Keynes. Joseph Schumpeter and several senior males at Harvard came across themselves in nearly rapid confrontation, simply as that they had with the 1st New Deal rules 4 years past. listening to that a few of his personal graduate scholars had put a bulk order for the overall conception in the summertime of 1936, hoping to hasten its arrival from England, Schumpeter pronounced to a colleague, “The majority of our absolute best teens are virtually fanatically for Mr. Keynes. ” He used to be dismayed, to claim the least. Schumpeter’s antagonism towards the final idea by no means wavered: close to the tip of global warfare II he nonetheless insisted that “perhaps the bulk” of his colleagues have been, like him, “opposed to the information of Keynes. ” Schumpeter sourly greeted information of Keynes’s demise in 1946 with an acid-tinged essay, and his biographer candidly admits that the Austrian’s resentment was once fed through his prideful experience of being wrongly upstaged. (The in simple terms paintings by means of Keynes that Schumpeter ever admitted admiring used to be his Essays in Biography. 26) Alvin Hansen, quickly to reach at Harvard, was once between Keynes’s early critics, and prefer Schumpeter he wrote a adverse preliminary overview of the overall thought. yet inside under years, after extra attention and lots more and plenty debate, Hansen grew to become Keynes’s leader American apostle. His conversion, as we will see, used to be the most important to the educational attractiveness of Keynes within the past due 1930s—and additionally to the evolution of a selected kind, or institution, of Keynesianism, within which Galbraith ultimately positioned his personal precise proposal.