ANNALS OF AN ABIDING LIBERAL by John Kenneth Galbraith


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There aren't many practitioners of the dismal science who can make it on television, but J. K. Galbraith is no ordinary economist. For one thing, he's a whole lot wittier than Milton Friedman; for another, he's the Establishment's house iconoclast. This collection of essays--combining formal addresses, travel notes, and book reviews--gives a good account of Galbraith's varied interests, from inflation to Anthony Trollope. ""Nominally I have been a teacher,"" he notes; ""In practice I have been a writer--as generations of Harvard students have suspected."" Galbraith treasures his writing career above that of government bureaucrat, ambassador, and Harvard professor; and it was indeed his widely-read books--chiefly The Affluent Society and The New Industrial State--that brought him to public attention. Classed as a radical, a socialist, and much else, Galbraith the economic theorist eludes labels, as several of these essays demonstrate. His main message to fellow economists is to give up the myth of the free market and accept the political power possessed by the modern corporation in the contemporary state. In ""The Multinational Corporation: How to Put Your Worst Foot Forward or in Your Mouth,"" he praises the benefits of multinationals, counseling their managers to acknowledge the power they wield rather than tell blatant lies about non-interference with foreign states. This kind of myth-puncturing approach to the modern economy is Galbraith's iconoclasm, but radical or socialist it isn't. He is simply seeing the economy the way it is, ideologies apart. An entertaining collection of Galbraithiana with a serious core.

Pub Date: Oct. 15th, 1979
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin