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John Kenneth Galbraith

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John Kenneth Galbraith (1908—2006) was a Canadian-born economist who was influential in the development of modern American liberalism, being instrumental in the spread of Keynesian economics in the United States. He wrote many books on economics and politics and held several US government posts, including Ambassador to India under the Kennedy administration.

Galbraith believed that the market power of large corporations was a threat to the freedom of consumers, but you don't really need an economist to tell you that. He also presented a series titled The Age of Uncertainty on BBC television. His son, James K. Galbraith, is also a prominent Keynesian (prominent mostly for being the son of John K. Galbraith).

His best known work is The Great Crash, 1929Wikipedia's W.svg published in 1954. The book examines the precursors, development, responses, and consequences of the 1929 stock market crash. It remains one of the best (and most readable) works on financial bubbles and crises ever written. It remains in print as of 2013. Other works include The Affluent Society and American Capitalism. He also wrote A Short History of Financial Euphoria, which explains that we seem never to learn our lesson about bubbles. It is notable not because it's ground-breaking (it isn't) but because, confirming its central point, its truths tend to go ignored.[1]

Economic forecasting[edit]

John Galbraith was a huge fan of economic forecasting, and is known for his unshakeable faith in the infallibility of the process. Hah! Just kidding. This is one of his better quotes:

The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable.[2][3]


  1. Way meta, dude.
  2. Wikiquote: Economics
  3. Also considered an Ezra Solomon quotation.