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(1908-2006)
John Kenneth Galbraith
 
from the home page at Harvard University, Spring 1999
Biography of John Kenneth Galbraith
John Kenneth Galbraith is the Paul M. Warburg Professor of Economics Emeritus at Harvard University. He is internationally known for his development of Keynesian and post-Keynesian economics, the economics of the modem large firm, as well as for his writing and his active involvement in American politics.
Professor Galbraith earned his B.S. degree from the University of Toronto (Ontario Agricultural College) in 1931, and an M.S. (1933) and a Ph.D. (1934) from the University of California, and taught at both California and Princeton before coming to Harvard permanently in 1948. He retired in 1975. He has received some forty-five honorary degrees from universities worldwide, including: Harvard University, Oxford University, the University of Paris, Moscow State University, and the University of Toronto.
Professor Galbraith has had a distinguished career in American and international politics. A Democrat, Galbraith served as President John F. Kennedy's ambassador to India from 1961 to 1963. Under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Galbraith served as the deputy administrator in the Office of Price Administration in the early 1940s, where he organized and administered the wartime system of price controls. He also served as director of the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey in 1945. For his public service, Galbraith was awarded the Medal of Freedom in 1946.
Professor Galbraith campaigned with Adlai Stevenson in 1952 and 1956, was an economic adviser to Senator John F. Kennedy during the 1960 presidential race and, as chair of Americans for Democratic Action, supported Senator Eugene McCarthy's bid for the presidency, helping to put his name in nomination at the Democratic Convention in 1968. He was an early and continuing opponent of our Vietnam participation.
Professor Galbraith, known for his lucid, persuasive writing style, has published many books and articles. The Affluent Society (1958), for which he won the Tamiment Book Award and the Sidney Hillman Award, challenged the myth of the U.S. economy's reliance on the gross national product for its social stability, positing instead that consumers' taste for luxury goods dictated the economy's focus at the expense of the common welfare. The New Industrial State (1967) and Economics and the Public Purpose (1973) continued the examination of this thesis, to critical and popular acclaim.
Other works that have garnered Professor Galbraith an international audience include American Capitalism (1952), The Great Crash (1955), Economics and the Art of Controversy (1955), The Liberal Hour(1960), The Scotch (1964), a best-selling novel The Triumph (1968), Ambassador's Journal (1969), A China Passage (1973), Money: Whence It Came, Where It Went (1975), The Age of Uncertainty (1977), Almost Everyone's Guide to Economics (1979), The Nature of Mass Poverty (1979), A Life in Our Times (1981), The Voice of the Poor (1983), The Anatomy of Power (1983), A View from the Stands (1986), Economics in Perspective (1987), Capitalism, Communism and Coexistence (with Stanislav Menshikov, 1988), a second novel, A Tenured Professor (1990), The Culture of Contentment (1992), A Journey Through Economic Time (1994) and The Good Society (1996), Letters to Kennedy (1998), and in May 1999, Name-Dropping: From F.D.R. On was published. Galbraith has also written on Indian art, modem urban planning and design, civil rights and American foreign policy. He was an editor of Fortune from 1943 to 1948 and has published in both economic journals and popular periodicals such as The New York Review of Books, The New Yorkerand The New York Times Magazine.
He has been President of the American Economic Association, a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge (of which he is now an Honorary Fellow), a Visiting Fellow at All Souls College, Oxford, and an honorary professor at the University of Geneva's Graduate Institute of Advanced International Studies. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and an Honorary Foreign Member of the Academy of Sciences of the former U.S.S.R. and now that of Russia. In 1982 he was elected to the fifty-member American Academy of Arts and Letters for literature, occupying the chair once held by the late Archibald MacLeish. From 1984 to 1987 he was President of the combined American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.
Professor Galbraith, born on October 15, 1908, is a native of Iona Station, Ontario; he became an American citizen in 1937. He is married to the former Catherine Atwater, and they are the parents of three sons. Professor and Mrs. Galbraith reside in Cambridge, Massachusetts, during the academic year and in Newfane, Vermont, in the summer.
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