The Affluent Society (Penguin Business)

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9780140285192: The Affluent Society (Penguin Business)

John Kenneth Galbraith's international bestseller The Affluent Society is a witty, graceful and devastating attack on some of our most cherished economic myths. As relevant today as when it was first published over forty years ago, this newly updated edition of Galbraith's classic text on the 'economics of abundance', lays bare the hazards of individual and social complacency about economic inequality. Why worship work and productivity if many of the goods we produce are superfluous - artificial 'needs' created by high-pressure advertising? Why begrudge expenditure on vital public works while ignoring waste and extravagance in the private sector of the economy? Classical economics was born in a harsh world of mass poverty, and has left us with a set of preconceptions ill-adapted to the realities of our own richer age. And so, too often, 'the bland lead the bland'. Our unfamiliar problems need a new approach, and the reception given to this famous book has shown the value of its fresh, lively ideas. 'A compelling challenge to conventional thought' The New York Times 'He shows himself a truly sensitive and civilized man, whose ideas are grounded in the common culture of the two continents, and may serve as a link between them; his book is of foremost importance for them both' The Times Literary Supplement John Kenneth Galbraith (1908-2006) was a Canadian-American economist. A Keynesian and an institutionalist, Galbraith was a leading proponent of 20th-century American liberalism and progressivism. Galbraith was the author of 30 books, including The Economics of Innocent Fraud, The Great Crash: 1929, and A History of Economics.

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Review:

Conventional wisdom has it that John Kenneth Galbraith's The Affluent Society spawned the neoliberalism we see in Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, and other world leaders. The economist's prose, lofty but still easily manageable, laid down the gauntlet for the post-cold war class struggle that was still far in the future in 1958. Galbraith saw the widening gap between the richest and the poorest as an emergent threat to economic stability, and proposed significant investment in parks, transportation, education, and other public amenities--what we now call infrastructure--to ameliorate these differences and postpone depression and revolution indefinitely. Widely criticized by conservatives and libertarians wary of public expenditures or increased government influence, Galbraith still influences liberal and neoliberal thinking. He has acknowledged that his work, like that of most social scientists, contains flaws (like his dire prediction of an out-of-control unemployment and inflation spiral that petered out in the 1980's), but much of it remains fresh and true even today. Four years before Silent Spring, he wrote about the consumerist blight that threatened our wild lands equally as much as our cities; his hoped-for increase in environmental awareness has grown significantly in recent years. Whether you support the political implementations of his views, experiencing his writing is important to put those views in context. More than this, though, it is an honest pleasure to read such original ideas so well expressed. --Rob Lightner

About the Author:

John Kenneth Galbraith has written 30 books, spanning four decades. He has been awarded honorary degrees from Harvard, Oxford, the University of Paris and Moscow University. In 1998, he celebrated his 90th birthday. He continues to work as the Paul M Warburg Professor of Economics Emeritus at Harvard University.

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Book Description Penguin Books Ltd, United Kingdom, 1999. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 5th Revised edition. Language: English . Brand New Book. John Kenneth Galbraith s international bestseller The Affluent Society is a witty, graceful and devastating attack on some of our most cherished economic myths. As relevant today as when it was first published over forty years ago, this newly updated edition of Galbraith s classic text on the economics of abundance , lays bare the hazards of individual and social complacency about economic inequality. Why worship work and productivity if many of the goods we produce are superfluous - artificial needs created by high-pressure advertising? Why begrudge expenditure on vital public works while ignoring waste and extravagance in the private sector of the economy? Classical economics was born in a harsh world of mass poverty, and has left us with a set of preconceptions ill-adapted to the realities of our own richer age. And so, too often, the bland lead the bland . Our unfamiliar problems need a new approach, and the reception given to this famous book has shown the value of its fresh, lively ideas. A compelling challenge to conventional thought The New York Times He shows himself a truly sensitive and civilized man, whose ideas are grounded in the common culture of the two continents, and may serve as a link between them; his book is of foremost importance for them both The Times Literary Supplement John Kenneth Galbraith (1908-2006) was a Canadian-American economist. A Keynesian and an institutionalist, Galbraith was a leading proponent of 20th-century American liberalism and progressivism. Galbraith was the author of 30 books, including The Economics of Innocent Fraud, The Great Crash: 1929, and A History of Economics. Bookseller Inventory # APG9780140285192

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