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JOHN KENNETH GALBRAITH [1908 -  ]: ECONOMIST AND
CRITIC OF AMERICAN CAPITALISM


# ONE OF BEST-KNOWN AMERICAN ECONOMIST BECAUSE OF
THE MANY BOOKS GALBRAITH HAS WRITTEN AIMED AT MASS
AUDIENCE, AMONG THEM:

     # AMERICAN CAPITALISM [1952]
     # THE AFFLUENT SOCIETY [1957]
     # THE NEW INDUSTRIAL STATE [1967]


# IN THE AFFLUENT SOCIETY, GALBRAITH SET FORTH ONE
OF HIS MAJOR CRITICISMS OF AMERICAN SOCIETY:
NAMELY, THAT IT WAS A SOCIETY THAT WAS PRIVATELY
WEALTHY BUT PUBLICLY POOR.

# SAID ANOTHER WAY, GALBRAITH IS SAYING, YES,
AMERICA IS A WEALTHY SOCIETY -- BUT ONLY IN THE
PRIVATE SPHERE -- HOUSES, CARS, TVS, ETC. BUT
AMERICA IS POOR IN THE PUBLIC SPHERE -- PUBLIC
BUILDINGS, SCHOOLS, PARKS, SCHOOLS, PUBLIC
FACILITIES.

# G ARGUES THAT AMERICAN CONSUMER TASTES ARE SHAPED
BY ADVERTISING AND THAT THE CORPORATE SECTOR RATHER
THAN THE CONSUMER IS RESPONSIBLE FOR PRODUCTION
PRIORITIES, INCLUDING ENVIRONMENTAL UNSOUND
CONSUMPTION PATTERNS.


JOHN KENNETH GALBRAITH [1908 -  ]: ECONOMIST AND
CRITIC OF AMERICAN CAPITALISM [C]


# ALL THE EFFORT THAT GOES INTO ADVERTISING
PRODUCES A  BIAS IN FAVOR OF PRIVATE CONSUMPTION AS
OPPOSED TO COMMUNITY SERVICES.

# THE RESULT IS PRIVATE AFFLUENCE AND PUBLIC
SQUALOR, AN IMBALANCE BETWEEN PRIVATE [CARS,
WASHING MACHINES] AND PUBLIC GOODS [EDUCATION,
PARKS].

# IN 1999 GALBRAITH BELEIVED THAT HIS PRIVATE
AFFLUENCE & PUBLIC SQUALOR ARGUMENT WAS STILL
VALID. WE ARE NOW MORE THAN EVER AFFLUENT IN OUR
PRIVATE CONSUMPTION & POOR IN OUR PUBLIC SECTOR --
WITH INADEQUATE SCHOOLS, LIBRARIES, PUBLIC-
RECREATION FACILITIES, HEALTH CARE, LAW
ENFORCEMENT.

# EVEN IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA TODAY, HERE ARE SOME
OF THE PROBLEMS: INADEQUATE PUBLIC HEALTH, POOR AIR
QUALITY, INADEQUATELY TREATED DRINKING WATER
[POSSIBLE CARCINOGENS].


     # IN AMERICAN CAPITALISM, GALBRAITH SETS FORTH
THE INTERESTING CONCEPT OF COUNTERVAILING POWER.
THE CONVENTIONAL WISDOM HAS BEEN THAT AMERICAN
CORPORATIONS WIELD TOTALLY UNRESTRAINED POWER.  G
SAYS NOT SO. FOR LARGE CORPORATIONS HAVE GIVEN RISE
TO OTHER LARGE ORGANIZATIONS THAT LIMIT THEIR POWER
-- BIG GOVERNMENT, BIG UNIONS, LARGE CHAIN STORE
RETAILERS.

     # IN THE NEW INDUSTRIAL STATE, G ARGUES THAT
TOP MANAGEMENT OF CORPORATIONS ARE NOT DECISION
MAKERS BUT DECISION RATIFIERS, THAT DECISION-MAKING
IN THE LARGE CORPORATION HAS PASSED FROM THE
INDIVIDUAL TO THE GROUP.

     # G ALSO ARGUES THAT BECAUSE OF THE MASSIVE
CAPITAL INVESTMENTS REQUIRED FOR MODERN PLANTS, THE
CORPORATION MUST BE ABLE TO EXERCISE CONSIDERABLE
CONTROL OVER BOTH ITS SUPPLIERS AND ITS CUSTOMERS.
CONTROLLING CUSTOMER EXPECTATIONS IS THE TASK OF
MASSIVE ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS.

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