2 May 2006

RIP John Kenneth Galbraith

In fact, I know very little about this man, except some killer quotes that I desperately tried to weave into a couple of pollies speeches (to no avail). But he was the first to say things like - companies used advertising to induce consumers to buy things they had never dreamed they needed. According to New York times his book "American Capitalism,"
"..set out to debunk myths about the free market economy and explore concentrations of economic power. He described the pressures that corporations and unions exerted on each other for increased profits and increased wages, and said these countervailing forces kept those giant groups in equilibrium and the nation's economy prosperous and stable."

It was published in 1952. In short: an economist, with the gift of communication, publicly against the vietnam war, and not afraid to wade into public debate to talk about power, wealth and manipulation of the "market". Buzz salutes you.

4 comments:

J said...

I quite like your new colours btw. sooothing, smooth. Blue says calm and dependable in colour psychology, purple a little bit energetic and spirual. A good mix.

El Bizarro said...

Wow, 97! That's a good innings for a lefty - must have been all that granola. Galbraith was one of those thinkers all loved to qoute without knowing who he actually was. In fact, after reading a whole lot of Quiggan, Hamilton and now Galbraith, I'm wondering whether I should become an economist.

Bizarro - gonzo enconomist

"I'll need an extra large order of blotter paper to get through these figues"

Nah.

meririsa said...

Also impressive for it's time is Dr Seuss's "The Lorax" (1971)... a comment on advertising and corporate greed in a kids book - "You Need Kneeds!" (Kneed = knitted thing that you can't quite make out a purpose for, but everyone is convinced they must buy". Saw it on film in Jr primary school and the message has never left me!

J said...

I keep getting all this economics stuff to do for work at the moment, which I think must be karmically divined, as it is about my least favourite (desk type work) thing to do in the whole world. "Monetization frontier of valuing externalities"? Really economists, is someone having a laugh? So I am just hoping that there is some underlying benefit in me learning to convert things to present day value and annualising them in wacky spreadsheets...???

Pass me some of that blotting paper.

And yes Lorax - fabulous book. perhaps I could just stick a cover letter on that and hand it in to our clients!! (With some references and glossary attached.)