Fareed Zakaria on John Kenneth Galbraith

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I met John Kenneth Galbraith once. About 20 years ago, the legendary economist who died last week agreed to have dinner with a group of graduate students to discuss economics and international relations. What was meant to be an academic seminar soon turned into a riotous evening filled with wine and merriment.

Galbraith regaled us with tales of his exploits from gate-crashing the Potsdam Peace Conference as a young soldier to escorting Jackie Kennedy when she arrived in India. Galbraith was probably the most famous intellectual of his generation, a brilliant writer, towering personality, and a genuine wit but his ideas have not worn so well. Massive poverty programs, large-scale government regulation and extremely high tax rates have been rejected by American voters and reversed in some measure by almost every industrialized country.

It is not Kenneth Galbraith but his archrival and contemporary, Milton Friedman, who reigns supreme… at least that is what the judgment of history looks like today.”

Fareed Zakaria, on his TV show’s latest edition.

I agree with Michael Stastny and Lord Desai;

“He seemed a good man, in that he was honest and well-intentioned, and here I'm sure he has left a fine legacy for his friends and family. But his legacy to economics, is virtually non-existant. Big firms are generally weak, advertizing increases competition, depressions are not caused by excessive speculation, and conventional wisdom has always been for greater government regulation and redistribution.”

Related; Affluence and Its Discontents

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Robert Frank: Galbraith Was Right for the Wrong Reasons
http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2006/05/robert_frank_ga.html

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This page contains a single entry by Paul published on May 11, 2006 1:35 AM.

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