Zitate von John Kenneth Galbraith

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John Kenneth Galbraith

Geburtstag: 15. Oktober 1908
Todesdatum: 29. April 2006

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John Kenneth Galbraith war ein kanadisch-US-amerikanischer Ökonom, Sozialkritiker, Präsidentenberater, Romancier und Diplomat. Galbraith war einer der einflussreichsten Ökonomen des 20. Jahrhunderts, als Keynesianer und Linksliberaler setzte er sich zeitlebens für eine Stärkung der staatlichen Institutionen und für eine Förderung der Nachfrage ein.

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Zitate John Kenneth Galbraith

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„Conscience is better served by a myth“

—  John Kenneth Galbraith
Context: Conscience is better served by a myth. Chapter 4, p. 111

„If the state is the executive committee of the great corporation and the planning system, it is partly because neoclassical economics is its instrument for neutralizing the suspicion that this is so.“

—  John Kenneth Galbraith
Context: This is what economics now does. It tells the young and susceptible (and also the old and vulnerable) that economic life has no content of power and politics because the firm is safely subordinate to the market and the state and for this reason it is safely at the command of the consumer and citizen. Such an economics is not neutral. It is the influential and invaluable ally of those whose exercise of power depends on an acquiescent public. If the state is the executive committee of the great corporation and the planning system, it is partly because neoclassical economics is its instrument for neutralizing the suspicion that this is so.

„When you see reference to a new paradigm you should always, under all circumstances, take cover.“

—  John Kenneth Galbraith
Context: When you see reference to a new paradigm you should always, under all circumstances, take cover. Because ever since the great tulipmania in 1637, speculation has always been covered by a new paradigm. There was never a paradigm so new and so wonderful as the one that covered John Law and the South Sea Bubble — until the day of disaster. As quoted in "Galbraith on crashes, Japan and Walking Sticks" by Ben Laurance and William Keegan, in The Observer (21 June 1998)

„People are the common denominator of progress.“

—  John Kenneth Galbraith
Context: People are the common denominator of progress. So, paucis verbis, no improvement is possible with unimproved people, and advance is certain when people are liberated and educated. It would be wrong to dismiss the importance of roads, railroads, power plants, mills, and the other familiar furniture of economic development. At some stages of development — the stage that India and Pakistan have reached, for example — they are central to the strategy of development. But we are coming to realize, I think, that there is a certain sterility in economic monuments that stand alone in a sea of illiteracy. Conquest of illiteracy comes first. Economic Development (1964), ch. 2

„To add to the technostructure is to increase its power in the enterprise“

—  John Kenneth Galbraith
Context: To add to the technostructure is to increase its power in the enterprise. Chapter XXI, Section 2, p. 236

„Two men jumped hand-in-hand from a high window in the Ritz. They had a joint account.“

—  John Kenneth Galbraith
Context: Clerks in downtown hotels were said to be asking guests whether they wished the room for sleeping or jumping. Two men jumped hand-in-hand from a high window in the Ritz. They had a joint account. Chapter VII, Things Become More Serious, Section VIII, p. 131-132

„In the usual (though certainly not in every) public decision on economic policy, the choice is between courses that are almost equally good or equally bad. It is the narrowest decisions that are most ardently debated.“

—  John Kenneth Galbraith
Context: In the usual (though certainly not in every) public decision on economic policy, the choice is between courses that are almost equally good or equally bad. It is the narrowest decisions that are most ardently debated. If the world is lucky enough to enjoy peace, it may even one day make the discovery, to the horror of doctrinaire free-enterprisers and doctrinaire planners alike, that what is called capitalism and what is called socialism are both capable of working quite well. "The American Economy: Its Substance and Myth," quoted in Years of the Modern (1949), edited by J.W. Chase

„When the modern corporation acquires power over markets, power in the community, power over the state and power over belief, it is a political instrument, different in degree but not in kind from the state itself.“

—  John Kenneth Galbraith
Context: When the modern corporation acquires power over markets, power in the community, power over the state and power over belief, it is a political instrument, different in degree but not in kind from the state itself. To hold otherwise — to deny the political character of the modern corporation — is not merely to avoid the reality. It is to disguise the reality. The victims of that disguise are those we instruct in error. The beneficiaries are the institutions whose power we so disguise. Let there be no question: economics, so long as it is thus taught, becomes, however unconsciously, a part of the arrangement by which the citizen or student is kept from seeing how he or she is, or will be, governed.

„To pay off the debt was to destroy the money supply.“

—  John Kenneth Galbraith
Context: In numerous years following the war the Federal government ran a heavy surplus. It could not pay off it's debt, retire its securities, because to do so meant there would be no bonds to back the national bank notes. To pay off the debt was to destroy the money supply. Chapter VIII, The Great Compromise, p. 90

„Few can believe that suffering, especially by others, is in vain.“

—  John Kenneth Galbraith
Context: Few can believe that suffering, especially by others, is in vain. Anything that is disagreeable must surely have beneficial economic effects. Chapter 7, p. 211

„We now in the United States have more security guards for the rich than we have police services for the poor districts.“

—  John Kenneth Galbraith
Context: We now in the United States have more security guards for the rich than we have police services for the poor districts. If you're looking for personal security, far better to move to the suburbs than to pay taxes in New York. The Guardian [UK] (23 May 1992)

„I react pragmatically. Where the market works, I'm for that. Where the government is necessary, I'm for that. I'm deeply suspicious of somebody who says, "I'm in favor of privatization," or, "I'm deeply in favor of public ownership." I'm in favor of whatever works in the particular case.“

—  John Kenneth Galbraith
Context: I react to what is necessary. I would like to eschew any formula. There are some things where the government is absolutely inevitable, which we cannot get along without comprehensive state action. But there are many things — producing consumer goods, producing a wide range of entertainment, producing a wide level of cultural activity — where the market system, which independent activity is also important, so I react pragmatically. Where the market works, I'm for that. Where the government is necessary, I'm for that. I'm deeply suspicious of somebody who says, "I'm in favor of privatization," or, "I'm deeply in favor of public ownership." I'm in favor of whatever works in the particular case.

„The Senate has unlimited debate; in the House, debate is ruthlessly circumscribed. There is frequent discussion as to which technique most effectively frustrates democratic process.“

—  John Kenneth Galbraith
Context: The Senate has unlimited debate; in the House, debate is ruthlessly circumscribed. There is frequent discussion as to which technique most effectively frustrates democratic process. However, a more important antidote to American democracy is American gerontocracy. The positions of eminence and authority in Congress are allotted in accordance with length of service, regardless of quality. Superficial observers have long criticized the United States for making a fetish of youth. This is unfair. Uniquely among modern organs of public and private administration, its national legislature rewards senility.

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