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John Kenneth Galbraith from the cover of JOHN KENNETH GALBRAITH: THE MAKING OF AMERICAN ECONOMICS
3.25.05
Politics and Economy:
Richard Parker on John Kenneth Galbraith
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Richard Parker

Richard Parker is Lecturer in Public Policy and Senior Fellow of the Shorenstein Center at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. An economist by training, he is a graduate of Dartmouth College and Oxford University. He has worked as an economist for the UNDP, as cofounder of MOTHER JONES MAGAZINE, and as head of his own consulting firm, serving congressional clients, including Senators Kennedy, Glenn, Cranston, and McGovern, among others. Parker has held Marshall, Rockefeller, Danforth, Goldsmith, and Bank of America Fellowships. His books include: THE MYTH OF THE MIDDLE CLASS, a study of U.S. income distribution; MIXED SIGNALS: THE FUTURE OF GLOBAL TELEVISION NEWS; and the new intellectual biography, JOHN KENNETH GALBRAITH: THE MAKING OF AMERICAN ECONOMICS. He comes to NOW to talk about the "permanent war" economy and the legacy of John Kenneth Galbraith.




John Kenneth Galbraith

Economist and writer John Kenneth Galbraith has had a distinguished career in academe, public service and letters. After teaching economics at Harvard and Princeton in the late 1930s, he entered government service, working in the Office of Price Administration. He was an editor of FORTUNE magazine in 194348, also serving on the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey and in other governmental advisory posts. After the war Galbraith returned to Harvard, where he is still a Professor Emeritus. Galbraith returned to government service in the 1960s, serving as an adviser to President John F. Kennedy, and as U.S. ambassador to India. In addition to his teaching duties at Harvard faculty, he served as chairman of Americans for Democratic Action from 1967-69.

Galbraith's economics follows in the footsteps of the famed economist John Maynard Keynes — he has advocated government spending to fight social ills and to upgrade public services. Unlike some of his fellow economists, Galbraith is a best-selling author. His most famous book, 1958's THE AFFLUENT SOCIETY argued that the gross national product was not the economy's stabilizing force, but that the U.S. economy instead relied on the created desires of consumerism. This book was followed by THE NEW INDUSTRIAL STATE which posited that there is a symbiotic relationship between big business, big government and big labor which creates a self-sustaining demand for goods and services.

Among Galbraith's other works are AMERICAN CAPITALISM (1952), THE GREAT CRASH (1955), THE LIBERAL HOUR (1960), ECONOMICS AND THE PUBLIC PURPOSE (1973), THE GOOD SOCIETY: THE HUMANE AGENDA (1997) and a memoir, A LIFE IN OUR TIMES.

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