John Kenneth Galbraith (October 15, 1908 – April 29, 2006), also known as Ken Galbraith, was a Canadian-American economist, diplomat, public official and intellectual. A leading proponent of 20th-century American liberalism, his books on economic topics were bestsellers from the 1950s through the 2000s. As an economist, he leaned toward post-Keynesian economics from an institutionalist perspective.Galbraith was a long-time Harvard faculty member and stayed with Harvard University for half a century as a professor of economics. He was a prolific author and wrote four dozen books, including several novels, and published more than a thousand articles and essays on various subjects. Among his works was a trilogy on economics, American Capitalism (1952), The Affluent Society (1958), and The New Industrial State (1967). Some of his work has been criticized by economists Milton Friedman, Paul Krugman, Robert Solow, and Thomas Sowell.
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What is called a high standard of living consists in considerable measure of arrangements for avoiding muscular energy, increasing sensual pleasure, and enhancing caloric intake beyond any conceivable nutritional requirement. Nonetheless, the belief that increased production is a worthy social goal is very nearly absolute.
I am not quite sure what the advantage is in having a few more dollars to spend if the air is too dirty to breathe, the water is too polluted to drink, the commuters are losing out in the struggle to get in and out of the city, the streets are filthy, the schools are so bad that the young perhaps wisely stay away, and the hoodlums roll citizens for some of the dollars they saved in the tax cut.
Romania had been under communist rule since 1945, but it was after Ceausescu came to power in 1965 that life really began to deteriorate. . . . Then, one night in the late 1980s, a group of men dressed as street sweepers draped the statue of Lenin in Bucharest with big truck tires and set them on fire. It was a bold and daring act in a country where, it was said, for every Romanian on the street there were two secret police officers. The next morning traffic was detoured while workers from nearby factories were brought in to clean the statue with razor blades. That day I realized that change was possible.