Sunday, April 30, 2006

John Kenneth Galbraith

John Kenneth Galbraith, one of my greatest personal heroes, who was a prominent liberal economist and proponent of progressive vales has died. He served Presidents Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy and Johnson.

Galbraith helped to guide the successful economics during the WWII Roosevelt years and worked on the price and wage control board that prevented inflation from destroying the U.S. ecomomy due to the war expenditures. Galbraith opposed strategic bombing of civilian populations in Germany and Japan, claiming that such brutal military tactics do not shorten a war. He was a prime proponent of a just and fair economy that served the benefit of all in society, not just the wealthy interests.

Of his many fine books, written in a very entertaining as well as accessible style, THE AFFLUENT SOCIETY helped to contribute heavily to the Kennedy and Johnson era plans for the War On Poverty. During the 1960's this Johnson era social program set up programs and social goals to lift 35 million Americans out of poverty. But with the election of Richard Nixon, these goals were slowly blunted. Today during the Bush Administration, one of the most antipoor administrations in U.S. history, poverty is growing, wages are decreasing, and the American middle class is declining while the wealthy only grow richer in an economy that is growing at a brisk rate over 4% a year.

John Kenneth Galbraith seemed to get it just right. He was a sharp critic of the abuses of capitalism and sought to trim those abuses and create a more fair and equal America. His deep contribution to 1960's liberalism as well as economic justice will be greatly missed by me.


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