Blog for Rural America

The Center for Rural Affairs, a private, non-profit organization, is working to strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches, and rural communities. Permission to reprint items from this web log is hereby granted, on the condition that clear credit is given to the original source of the material. If the blog provides information for a story, please let us know by sending an email to

Monday, May 01, 2006

John Kenneth Galbraith - In Memorium

John Kenneth Galbraith: 1908-2006

Pioneering liberal economist John Kenneth Galbraith died on April 29 at the age of 97.

Dr. Galbraith was a Harvard professor, the author of nearly 50 books, and an advisor to four presidents. In one of his most famous books, "The Affluent Society" (1958), he depicted a "consumer culture gone wild, rich in goods but poor in the social services that make for community," and warned that artificially created demand for consumer products would weaken the ability of the public sector to provide necessary services.

In that same book, he also asked, "Is the added production or the added efficiency in production worth its effect on ambient air, water and space — the countryside?"

First and foremost, however, Galbraith was an agricultural economist, and one of his main areas of investigation was "how America changed from a nation of small farms and workshops to one of big factories and superstores." He was sharply critical of USDA policies which he described as, starting in the 1950s, promoting a "get big or get out" philosophy, policies he considered to be "sonorous boondoggling."

Rest in Peace Professor Galbraith, and thank you.

post a question or comment here or contact John Crabtree,

Center for Rural Affairs
Values. Worth. Action.


  • At 11:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    If you haven't, read "The Affluent Society". It will scare the hell out of you, that he saw so much of this all those years ago.


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