James K. Galbraith

James K. Galbraith

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James Kenneth Galbraith (born January 29, 1952) is an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 economist
Economist
An economist is a professional in the social science discipline of economics. The individual may also study, develop, and apply theories and concepts from economics and write about economic policy...

 who writes frequently for mainstream and liberal
Liberalism in the United States
Liberalism in the United States is a broad political philosophy centered on the unalienable rights of the individual. The fundamental liberal ideals of freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion for all belief systems, and the separation of church and state, right to due process...

 publications on economic topics. He is currently a professor at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs
Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs
The Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs is a graduate school at The University of Texas at Austin that was founded in 1970 to offer professional training in public policy analysis and administration for students interested in pursuing careers in government and public affairs-related areas...

 and at the Department of Government, University of Texas at Austin
University of Texas at Austin
The University of Texas at Austin is a state research university located in Austin, Texas, USA, and is the flagship institution of the The University of Texas System. Founded in 1883, its campus is located approximately from the Texas State Capitol in Austin...

. He is also a Senior Scholar with the Levy Economics Institute
Levy Economics Institute
The Levy Economics Institute of Bard College is located on the campus of Bard College, in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. The Institute is housed in Blithewood, a mansion originally designed by an alumnus of the architectural firm of McKim, Mead and White for Andrew Zabriskie in 1899...

 of Bard College
Bard College
Bard College, founded in 1860 as "St. Stephen's College", is a small four-year liberal arts college located in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York.-Location:...

. He is also part of the executive committee of the World Economics Association, created in 2011.

Background


Galbraith is a son of the renowned economist John Kenneth Galbraith
John Kenneth Galbraith
John Kenneth "Ken" Galbraith , OC was a Canadian-American economist. He was a Keynesian and an institutionalist, a leading proponent of 20th-century American liberalism...

 and Catherine (Kitty) Atwater Galbraith
Catherine Galbraith
Catherine "Kitty" Galbraith , née Catherine Merriam Atwater, was an American author who was the wife of economist and author John Kenneth Galbraith, and the mother of four sons: diplomat and political analyst, Peter W. Galbraith, economist James K. Galbraith, attorney J...

 and is the brother of the former diplomat and commentator Peter W. Galbraith
Peter W. Galbraith
Peter Woodard Galbraith is an author, academic, commentator, policy advisor, and former United States diplomat. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, he helped uncover Saddam Hussein's gassing of the Kurds. From 1993 to 1998, he served as the first U.S...

. He earned his BA
Bachelor of Arts
A Bachelor of Arts , from the Latin artium baccalaureus, is a bachelor's degree awarded for an undergraduate course or program in either the liberal arts, the sciences, or both...

, magna cum laude, from Harvard
Harvard University
Harvard University is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation chartered in the country...

 in 1974 and Ph.D
Doctor of Philosophy
Doctor of Philosophy, abbreviated as Ph.D., PhD, D.Phil., or DPhil , in English-speaking countries, is a postgraduate academic degree awarded by universities...

 from Yale
Yale University
Yale University is a private, Ivy League university located in New Haven, Connecticut, United States. Founded in 1701 in the Colony of Connecticut, the university is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States...

 in 1981, both in economics
Economics
Economics is the social science that analyzes the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. The term economics comes from the Ancient Greek from + , hence "rules of the house"...

. From 1974 to 1975, Galbraith studied as a Marshall Scholar at King's College
King's College, Cambridge
King's College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge, England. The college's full name is "The King's College of our Lady and Saint Nicholas in Cambridge", but it is usually referred to simply as "King's" within the University....

, Cambridge
University of Cambridge
The University of Cambridge is a public research university located in Cambridge, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest university in both the United Kingdom and the English-speaking world , and the seventh-oldest globally...

.

Career


From 1981 to 1982, Galbraith served on the staff of the Congress of the United States, eventually as Executive Director of the Joint Economic Committee. In 1985, he was a guest scholar at the Brookings Institution
Brookings Institution
The Brookings Institution is a nonprofit public policy organization based in Washington, D.C., in the United States. One of Washington's oldest think tanks, Brookings conducts research and education in the social sciences, primarily in economics, metropolitan policy, governance, foreign policy, and...

.

Galbraith is currently a professor at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs
Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs
The Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs is a graduate school at The University of Texas at Austin that was founded in 1970 to offer professional training in public policy analysis and administration for students interested in pursuing careers in government and public affairs-related areas...

 and at the Department of Government, University of Texas at Austin
University of Texas at Austin
The University of Texas at Austin is a state research university located in Austin, Texas, USA, and is the flagship institution of the The University of Texas System. Founded in 1883, its campus is located approximately from the Texas State Capitol in Austin...

. Galbraith heads up the University of Texas Inequality Project (UTIP), which has been described by economic historian Lord Skidelsky as "pionering inequality measurement". UTIP is also noted for replacing the established Gini coefficient
Gini coefficient
The Gini coefficient is a measure of statistical dispersion developed by the Italian statistician and sociologist Corrado Gini and published in his 1912 paper "Variability and Mutability" ....

 with the Theil index
Theil index
The Theil index is a statistic used to measure economic inequality. It has also been used to measure the lack of racial diversity. The basic Theil index TT is the same as redundancy in information theory which is the maximum possible entropy of the data minus the observed entropy. It is a special...

 as the measurement of choice for comparing inequality between groups, regions and countries.

In March 2008 Galbraith used the 25th Annual Milton Friedman Distinguished Lecture to launch a sweeping attack on the Washington Consensus
Washington Consensus
The term Washington Consensus was coined in 1989 by the economist John Williamson to describe a set of ten relatively specific economic policy prescriptions that he considered constituted the "standard" reform package promoted for crisis-wracked developing countries...

 on free market
Free market
A free market is a competitive market where prices are determined by supply and demand. However, the term is also commonly used for markets in which economic intervention and regulation by the state is limited to tax collection, and enforcement of private ownership and contracts...

 policies, especially the monetarist
Monetarism
Monetarism is a tendency in economic thought that emphasizes the role of governments in controlling the amount of money in circulation. It is the view within monetary economics that variation in the money supply has major influences on national output in the short run and the price level over...

 version. He argued strongly that Keynesian economics offered a solution to the financial crisis that started in 2007 whereas monetarist polices would deepen the recession. Towards the end of 2008 policy makers around the world began acting in line with Galbraith’s recommendations, as part of the Keynesian resurgence
2008–2009 Keynesian resurgence
In 2008 and 2009, there was a resurgence of interest in Keynesian economics among policy makers in the world's industrialized economies. This has included discussions and implementation of economic policies in accordance with the recommendations made by John Maynard Keynes in response to the Great...

 described by the Financial Times as "a stunning reversal of the orthodoxy of the past several decades".

In 2010 he edited an edition of his father's works for the prestigious Library of America
Library of America
The Library of America is a nonprofit publisher of classic American literature.- Overview and history :Founded in 1979 with seed money from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Ford Foundation, the LoA has published over 200 volumes by a wide range of authors from Mark Twain to Philip...

 series.

Writings


Galbraith's books include Balancing Acts: Technology, Finance and the American Future (1989), Created Unequal: The Crisis in American Pay (1998), Inequality and Industrial Change: A Global View (2001) co-edited with Maureen Bemer, and The Predator State (2008). He is the author of two textbooks - The Economic Problem (with Robert L. Heilbroner) and Macroeconomics (with William Darity, Jr.)

He also contributes a column to The Texas Observer
The Texas Observer
The Texas Observer is an American political newsmagazine published bi-weekly and based in Downtown Austin, Texas. The non-profit magazine is nonpartisan, but the publication has historically been an advocate for liberal politics...

and writes regularly for The Nation, The American Prospect
The American Prospect
The American Prospect is a monthly American political magazine dedicated to American liberalism. Based in Washington, DC, The American Prospect is a journal "of liberal ideas, committed to a just society, an enriched democracy, and effective liberal politics" which focuses on United States politics...

, Mother Jones
Mother Jones (magazine)
Mother Jones is an American independent news organization, featuring investigative and breaking news reporting on politics, the environment, human rights, and culture. Mother Jones has been nominated for 23 National Magazine Awards and has won six times, including for General Excellence in 2001,...

, and The Progressive
The Progressive
The Progressive is an American monthly magazine of politics, culture and progressivism with a pronounced liberal perspective on some issues. Known for its pacifism, it has strongly opposed military interventions, such as the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. The magazine also devotes much coverage...

. His Op-Ed pieces have appeared in The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

, Washington Post, Boston Globe and other newspapers.

Galbraith argues that modern America has fallen prey to a wealthy, government-controlling "predatory class":
"Today, the signature of modern American capitalism is neither benign competition, nor class struggle, nor an inclusive middle-class utopia. Instead, predation has become the dominant feature — a system wherein the rich have come to feast on decaying systems built for the middle class. The predatory class is not the whole of the wealthy; it may be opposed by many others of similar wealth. But it is the defining feature, the leading force. And its agents are in full control of the government under which we live."


Galbraith is also highly critical of the Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 administration's foreign policy apropos of the Iraq invasion
2003 invasion of Iraq
The 2003 invasion of Iraq , was the start of the conflict known as the Iraq War, or Operation Iraqi Freedom, in which a combined force of troops from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Poland invaded Iraq and toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein in 21 days of major combat operations...

:
"There is a reason for the vulnerability of empires. To maintain one against opposition requires war — steady, unrelenting, unending war. And war is ruinous — from a legal, moral and economic point of view. It can ruin the losers, such as Napoleonic France, or Imperial Germany in 1918. And it can ruin the victors, as it did the British and the Soviets in the 20th century. Conversely, Germany and Japan recovered well from World War II, in part because they were spared reparations and did not have to waste national treasure on defense in the aftermath of defeat...The real economic cost of Bush's empire building is twofold: It diverts attention from pressing economic problems at home and it sets the United States on a long-term imperial path that is economically ruinous."


Much like his father
John Kenneth Galbraith
John Kenneth "Ken" Galbraith , OC was a Canadian-American economist. He was a Keynesian and an institutionalist, a leading proponent of 20th-century American liberalism...

 in writing A Tenured Professor
A Tenured Professor
A Tenured Professor is a satirical novel by Canadian/American economist and Professor Emeritus at Harvard, John Kenneth Galbraith, about a liberal university teacher who sets out to change American society by making money and then using it for the public good...

, the junior Galbraith is also a merciless critic of his own profession:
"Leading active members of today's economics profession, the generation presently in their 40s and 50s, have joined together into a kind of politburo for correct economic thinking. As a general rule — as one might expect from a gentleman's club — this has placed them on the wrong side of every important policy issue, and not just recently but for decades. They predict disaster where none occurs. They deny the possibility of events that then happen. They offer a "rape is like the weather" fatalism about an "inevitable" problem (pay inequality) that then starts to recede. They oppose the most basic, decent, and sensible reforms, while offering placebos instead. They are always surprised when something untoward (like a recession) actually occurs. And when finally they sense that some position cannot be sustained, they do not re-examine their ideas. Instead, they simply change the subject."

Humanitarian initiatives


Galbraith is the Chairman of Economists for Peace and Security
Economists for Peace and Security
Economists for Peace and Security is a United Nations-registered, New York-based NGO which links economists interested in peace and security issues. Inspired by International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, it was founded in 1989 as Economists Against the Arms Race , before becoming...

, formerly known as Economists Against the Arms Race and later Economists Allied for Arms Reduction (ECAAR), an international association of professional economists concerned with peace and security issues.

In 2009, he joined the project for Soldiers of Peace
Steve Killelea
Stephen Killelea AM is an Australian IT entrepreneur. He began his career, after doing a crash course in computing and working for a computer manufacturer, by developing a product for computer systems management that became internationally successful and led him to set up a US company, Software...

, a documentary for global peace and against all wars, which has won various awards in film festivals.

Books

  • Balancing Acts: Technology, Finance and the American Future (1989)
  • Created Unequal: The Crisis in American Pay (1998)
  • Inequality and Industrial Change: A Global View (2001), co-edited with Maureen Bemer, Cambridge University Press
    Cambridge University Press
    Cambridge University Press is the publishing business of the University of Cambridge. Granted letters patent by Henry VIII in 1534, it is the world's oldest publishing house, and the second largest university press in the world...

  • The Predator State (2008)
  • The Economic Problem (with Robert L. Heilbroner)
  • Macroeconomics (with William Darity, Jr.)
  • John Kenneth Galbraith
    John Kenneth Galbraith
    John Kenneth "Ken" Galbraith , OC was a Canadian-American economist. He was a Keynesian and an institutionalist, a leading proponent of 20th-century American liberalism...

    , The Affluent Society and Other Writings 1952–1967 (ed. James K. Galbraith, New York: The Library of America, 2010) ISBN 978-1598530773

External links