Galbraith, John Kenneth

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Financial.

Galbraith, John Kenneth

(găl`brāth), 1908–2006, American economist and public official, b. Ontario, Canada, grad. Univ. of Toronto (B.S., 1931), Univ. of California, Berkeley (M.S., 1933; Ph.D., 1934). After becoming (1937) a U.S. citizen and teaching economics at Harvard (1934–39) and Princeton (1939–40), he entered government service, working (1941–43) in the Office of Price Administration. He was an editor of Fortune magazine from 1943–48, also serving on the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey (1945) and in other governmental advisory posts before returning (1949) to Harvard. An adviser to Democratic presidents from Franklin D. Roosevelt to Bill Clinton, most prominently to John F. KennedyKennedy, John Fitzgerald,
1917–63, 35th President of the United States (1961–63), b. Brookline, Mass.; son of Joseph P. Kennedy. Early Life

While an undergraduate at Harvard (1936–40) he served briefly in London as secretary to his father, who was
..... Click the link for more information.
, he also was (1961–63) U.S. ambassador to India. He rejoined the Harvard faculty in 1963 (he became a professor emeritus in 1975) and continued his political activities, serving (1967–69) as chairman of Americans for Democratic Action. A Keynesian economist and a celebrated liberal, Galbraith advocated government spending to fight unemployment, supported the use of more of the nation's wealth for public services and less for private consumption, and warned against an unregulated free-market system. An influential thinker and a popularizer of economic thought, he wrote more than 40 books including American Capitalism (1952), The Great Crash 1929 (1955), The Affluent Society (1958, rev. ed. 1985), The Liberal Hour (1960), The New Industrial State (1967, rev. ed. 1971), Economics and the Public Purpose (1973), The Good Society (1997), and The Economics of Innocent Fraud (2004). A witty and urbane man with wide-ranging interests, he also wrote a book on Indian art (1968) and several novels.


See his memoir, The Scotch (1964, repr. 1985); autobiography, A Life in Our Times (1981); Ambassador's Journal (1969); and history, Name-Dropping: From FDR On (1999); J. Goodman, ed., Letters to Kennedy/John Kenneth Galbraith (1998); J. R. and J. B. Stanfield, ed., Interviews with John Kenneth Galbraith (2004); A. D. Williams, ed., The Essential Galbraith (2001); biography by R. Parker (2005); studies by C. H. Hession (1972), M. E. Sharpe (1973), A. D. Williams (1979), D. Reisman (1980), J. R. Stanfield (1996), H. Sasson, ed. (1999), and B. Laperche and D. Uzunidis, ed. (2005).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Galbraith, John Kenneth


Born Oct. 15, 1908, in Ontario, Canada. American economist, doctor of philosophy (1934).

Galbraith graduated from the University of Toronto in 1931. He taught in a number of American universities from 1931 to 1942. From 1943 to 1948 he was an editor of Fortune magazine. He became a professor at Harvard University in 1949.

Galbraith has written many works on various aspects of contemporary capitalism. He is a supporter of state intervention in the economy. He advanced the theory of “countervailing forces,” with the state supposedly assisting in the creation of a balance between supply and demand by means of the regulation of monopolies’ activities. Striving to refute the Marxist theory of accumulation and impoverishment, Galbraith attempts to demonstrate the social regeneration of capitalism, which is supposedly transforming itself as a result of technological development into a new society of abundance, the “industrial state.” Galbraith has supported the theory of convergence of the capitalist and socialist systems. He is a supporter of peaceful coexistence of the two systems and was an opponent of the war in Vietnam. Since 1967, he has headed the Americans for Democratic Action.


American Capitalism: The Concept of Countervailing Power. Boston, 1952.
The Affluent Society. Cambridge, 1958. Second edition: Har-monds worth, 1968.
Economic Development. Cambridge, 1963.
The New Industrial State. Boston, 1967. In Russian translation, Novoe industrial’noe obshchestvo. Moscow, 1969.


Kozlova, K. “ ‘Novoe industrial’noe obshchestvo’ Dzhona Gelbreita.” Mirovaia ekonomika i mezhdunarodnye otnosheniia, 1968, no. 1.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Galbraith, John Kenneth

(1908–  ) economist; born in London, Ontario, Canada. Emigrating to the U.S.A. in 1931, he pursued a diverse career that led him through academic and government positions including that of a Harvard professor (1949–75), U.S. ambassador to India (1961–63), personal adviser to President Kennedy, and best-selling author. His serious academic work focused on a critical analysis of interactions between economics and power in U.S. society. His broader reputation derives from his often acerbic and openly partisan critiques of national political as well as economic policies.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.