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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/5046/j-k-galbraith-celebrated-power-not-freedom/

J.K. Galbraith Celebrated Power, Not Freedom

May 15, 2006 by

Galbraith might have been revered by other intellectuals, not to mention newspaper editorialists who have fawned over him for five decades, writes William Anderson. But, in truth, the ideas were dying long before the man. He was revered as a dissident but the truth is that he celebrated power in all its forms all his life. FULL ARTICLE


Daniel M. Ryan May 15, 2006 at 8:37 am

As far as I can tell, the young, pre-university, J.K. Galbraith went to an exclusive private school after receiving admission to it as a scholarship student. Not only his pet themes but also his subsequent career track is consistent with the old-school tie worn with a poor-boy suit.

If this early scholastic career is in fact what he went through, then it did set the template of his writing output: the “public man” with his “squalor” in contradistinction to the “private man” with his “affluence.”

Professor Galbraith would have made a good Anglican minister, I should add.

Angelo May 15, 2006 at 12:54 pm

Galbraith was an evil man.

cynical May 15, 2006 at 4:45 pm

And a Narcissist.

Brian Rapp May 15, 2006 at 10:49 pm

Dr. Anderson: Could you explain in more detail what you mean by “cardinal utility”?

Francisco Torres May 15, 2006 at 11:09 pm


Cardinal utility means that “utility” can be measured cardinally the same way a distance or power can be measured, in units. For example, a person might place 100 units of utility for an apple, and 150 units for a pear. Of course, such is nonsense, since “utility” is a subjective judgement, not a physical attribute. Ordinal utility means that utility has NO units and cannot be measured by itself, but can be expressed in how many things are valued by a person. For example, a person might value the first apple he eats more than the fourth apple.

F L. Light May 15, 2006 at 11:40 pm

In wrong cognition never reason sense
With Galbraith’s gloom in mental consonance.

adi May 16, 2006 at 4:33 am

I once believed message that Galbraith was preaching and thought that institutionalism is greatest economic doctrine ever born.

My ( now abandoned )master thesis in history was: “American Institutionalism; Economics of Thorstein Veblen and John Galbraith”.

Later I changed to study econ ( though conventional one and full of neoclassical fallacies ) but during this year I have found many classics in econ; Lionel Robbins, Friedrich Hayek, Ludwig von Mises and Carl Menger. Now I think that this institutional econ is just a excuse to allow bigger government and concentration of power in hands on bureaucracy. This is just a message that politician is glad to hear…

M E Hoffer May 16, 2006 at 5:31 am


“…institutional econ is just a excuse to allow bigger government and concentration of power in hands on bureaucracy. This is just a message that politician is glad to hear…”

Bingo! Be proud. You obviously have the courage to assimilate new facts that come at the cost of your previous position. Sadly, many do not. Also, note how well JKG’s “institutionalism” lends itself to our current incarnations of Corporatism and its attendant schools of “scale-less” -I-C s.

Truly an idea that has gone “viral”, in the worst way, to metastasize itself throughout our body politic and, dare I say, our very Oversoul.

RogerM May 16, 2006 at 7:53 am

Adi, Are you familiar with the New Institutional School and Douglass North? I think you’ll find a lot of value there.

Marco de Innocentis May 16, 2006 at 8:04 am

The interesting thing is that Galbraith was dismissed as a crackpot even by “economists” on the political left, like Paul Krugman. He was only loved by the media.

Robert Masters May 16, 2006 at 3:21 pm

If all else fails, immortality can always be assured by spectacular error.
– John Kenneth Galbraith

Jack Maturin May 16, 2006 at 4:47 pm

Great article. Though I am of course very stupid for thinking so. You have obviously infected my mind with incorrect capitalist thoughts which should be removed by a government agency, who know better.

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