affluent society


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affluent society,

term coined by John Kenneth GalbraithGalbraith, John Kenneth
, 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.
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 in The Affluent Society (1958) to describe the United States after World War II. An affluent society, as the term was used ironically by Galbraith, is rich in private resources but poor in public ones because of a misplaced priority on increasing production in the private sector. Galbraith argued that industrial production was being devoted to satisfying trivial consumer needs, in part to maintain employment, and that the United States should shift resources to improve schools, the infrastructure, recreational resources, and social services, providing a better quality of life instead of an ever greater quantity of consumer goods. His critique influenced efforts during the 1960s to improve the quality of public institutions and facilities. The term has lost its original ironic meaning and is now used simply to indicate widespread prosperity.

affluent society

  1. a description of British society, especially in the mid-1950s and early 1960s, in which it was assumed that rising living standards were leading to profound changes in social attitudes, including a decline in traditional working-class support for the Labour Party See also AFFLUENT WORKER, EMBOURGEOISEMENT THESIS, CLASS IMAGERY.
  2. (GALBRAITH, The Affluent Society 1958) an account of US society in the late 1950s as a society in which basic economic scarcity and insecurity had been substantially conquered, but where private affluence was accompanied by ‘public squalor’ (e.g. producing cars in abundance, but disregarding road improvement and pollution control), and where poor provision was made for the casualties of capitalism. If increasing state expenditure in the 1960s and 1970s led to a departure from this pattern, monetarism and the changing political climate of the late 1970s and the 1980s has again tipped the balance against state provision. Echoes of Galbraith’s concerns exist, however, in the importance of environmental issues in modern politics (see GREEN MOVEMENT).
References in periodicals archive ?
Less obvious are the ways a socially active society is more likely to advance social justice than the affluent society.
Even in our affluent society, educated couples negotiate through their relationship to achieve the perfect balance.
Of these, The Affluent Society is the most widely celebrated, having been an absolute blockbuster when it first appeared in 1958 (and probably not surpassed in this respect until Thomas Piketty's remarkable smash-hit this year).
Indeed the ubiquity of the box brownie became a symbol of an affluent society and was used widely to record and pass on family events, holidays and high days.
The Indian government plans to increase public spending on healthcare to target the dual burden of diseases: communicable and infectious diseases in the lower strata of population and lifestyle diseases within the affluent society.
It found that despite making sacrifices and leading a life of comparative deprivation in an affluent society, many Indian expatriates stand to gain no long-term benefit from working in the Gulf.
There is a difference between denying you the right to publish a book called The Affluent Society and denying you the right to ready access to heroin.
This picture indicates there were plenty of customers ready to buy the new vehicles suggesting a more affluent society in the Middlesbrough of 1935 than the history books tell us.
I feel sorry for the country, where cricket was originated as a pastime for the affluent society, for not getting any prominence in the modern era and blaming the subcontinent for it.
People are choosing between heating and eating, and in a modern, affluent society this is unacceptable.
When the economy is booming, it's just as easy to accept that the money spent by a caring, affluent society on the seemingly endless battle to cure the users of their addiction is a wise investment.
In today's modern, affluent society, people should simply never be in a position where they are forced to choose between whether they 'heat or eat'.