Galbraith – economist, intellectual, legend!

John Kenneth Galbraith is one of the best, and most well-known economists to date. I really love the quotes below (which I got from here) and I think it’s plain to see why he was so popular.

A brief bio from Wikipedia: John Kenneth Galbraith (October 15, 1908 – April 29, 2006) was a Canadian-American economist. He was a Keynesian and an institutionalist, a leading proponent of 20th-century political liberalism. His books on economic topics were bestsellers from the 1950s through the 2000s and he filled the role of public intellectual from the 50’s to the 1970s on matters of economics.

Wealth, in even the most improbable cases, manages to convey the aspect of intelligence.

War remains the decisive human failure.

Under capitalism, man exploits man. Under communism, it’s just the opposite.

There are few ironclad rules of diplomacy but to one there is no exception. When an official reports that talks were useful, it can safely be concluded that nothing was accomplished.

The salary of the chief executive of a large corporation is not a market award for achievement. It is frequently in the nature of a warm personal gesture by the individual to himself.

The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.

Meetings are a great trap. Soon you find yourself trying to get agreement and then the people who disagree come to think they have a right to be persuaded. However, they are indispensable when you don’t want to do anything.

Of all classes the rich are the most noticed and the least studied.

People who are in a fortunate position always attribute virtue to what makes them so happy.

Politics is not the art of the possible. It consists in choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable.

Power is not something that can be assumed or discarded at will like underwear.

The enemy of the conventional wisdom is not ideas but the march of events.

All of the great leaders have had one characteristic in common: it was the willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time. This, and not much else, is the essence of leadership.

By all but the pathologically romantic, it is now recognized that this is not the age of the small man.

Economics is extremely useful as a form of employment for economists.

Faced with the choice between changing one’s mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof.

If all else fails, immortality can always be assured by spectacular error.

If wrinkles must be written upon our brows, let them not be written upon the heart. The spirit should never grow old.

In all life one should comfort the afflicted, but verily, also, one should afflict the comfortable, and especially when they are comfortably, contentedly, even happily wrong.

In any great organization it is far, far safer to be wrong with the majority than to be right alone.

In economics, hope and faith coexist with great scientific pretension and also a deep desire for respectability.

In economics, the majority is always wrong.

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