Monday, May 01, 2006

Galbraith in What He had Learned

From Esquire 1 May:

John Kenneth Galbraith (1908-2006): “What I’ve Learned”

“I've long been an admirer of Adam Smith, who's greatly praised by conservatives--who unfortunately have never read him. They would be shocked to find some of the things Smith advocates.”

I hope we can all agree with that, though as Jacob Viner put it: ‘Traces of every conceivable sort of doctrine are to be found in that most catholic of book, and an economist must have peculiar theories indeed who cannot quote from the Wealth of Nations in support of his special purposes’ (Laissez Faire, in Adam Smith, 1776-1926: Lectures to commemorate the sesquicentennial of the publication of the Wealth of Nations, 1928. University of Chicago: p 126).


“The terrible truth with which we must all contend is that the day may come when nuclear arms fall under the control of some idiot someplace in the world. And that will be the day of reckoning.”

How prescient of Galbraith about what we might face if such a ‘idiot’ were to be walking the planet right now?

Read Galbraith’s short article, first published in 2003 at:


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