Posted by EPL patron and guest blogger, Irv S.
John Kenneth Galbraith was a distinguished scholar, brilliant writer, and prominent public servant. He exerted vast influence on his students, other economists, our presidents, and the public.
He was born in Canada in 1908, awarded a doctorate in economics from Cal in 193 , and appointed to a Harvard professorship and various policy-making positions in the federal government. His early specialty was agricultural economics.
He draws on an extensive background and vast experience in the writing of A JOURNEY THROUGH ECONOMIC TIME, A FIRSTHAND VIEW, published in 1994. The book deals primarily with the period from 1914, the start of The Great War, through the early 1990's. He uses the events of that period to describe and expound economic theories, with some of which he agrees. As an important bureaucrat and an advisor to presidents, he indeed provides a first hand view of policy-making and the results thereof.
He explains the significant role of the Great Depression in the allied victory in World War II, contrasts the relationship between government and business in the Axis powers with that in Great Britain and the U.S., and shows how the mistakes following W.W.I were for the most part avoided after W.W.II.
The book is an excellent read for anyone interested in 20th centuryhistory or modern economics in general. It is not a dense treatise but an entertaining interpretation of recent history concluding with some thoughtful suggestions for the future. I enjoyed the book and learned a great deal from it.