John Galbraith

Picture of John Galbraith

Date of Birth: 10/15/1908

Age: 97

Place of birth: Aion Station

Citizenship: United States

John Kenneth Galbraith // Quo Vadis?

What kind of world we live in?

A couple of decades ago, any Soviet person can easily answer this question - in a socialist. And it was not just a characteristic of our differences from Western society. It was about the place that we occupy in the scale of historical development.

Born Marxism "pyatichlenka" - primitive society, slavery, feudalism, capitalism, socialism (communism) - today almost nobody is no longer used. In her continuous stretch. Each term has a very specific historical meaning, but not the same as in the course of historical materialism.

Rejecting the "pyatichlenki" we are somewhat shamefacedly began to use the vague and not entirely appropriate to the place of expressions such as "market economy", "free society", etc. Approximately the same as abandoning the word "friend", but not returning properly to the "master", began to turn to each other, emphasizing the sexual characters, "the man, show ticket," "woman, do not stand in the aisle."

But the man - not just a man, and our society - not just the market. The world in which we live today is significantly different from the capitalism of Marx`s era, but even more it is different from the fantasies that for decades drew Marxism. Constantly evolving, society somewhere to come. Question - where?

Marxism, bound with dogmas, did not answer. Neoclassical economic thought, wrestling with socialism, really the question of the evolution of capitalism does not even put. When defending against the enemy certain values, it is dangerous to debate about what these values ??may already be turned into something else.

And yet, in the world of science at the interface of economics, sociology and futurology originated within, to study the evolution of a complex modern society. It originated in left academic circles that are far from an apology for the communist idea, but at the same time very critical related to the idea of ??free enterprise. Time of origin have become 50-ies. - An era which, on the one hand, revealed the enormous opportunities of the evolutionary development of a market economy, has entered a period of prosperity, on the other hand - hammered the first nail in the coffin of socialism, understood as an alternative to capitalism.

This scientific direction was no luminary, which we could unreservedly be called a classic, defined a new view of the world. The idea was in the air, and it picked up by different people in different countries. But, perhaps, all the first scientist who described deployed the next stage of development of society in the work, consisting of three books, created over the past two decades, was John Kenneth Galbraith.

Leaving the "Conservative platform"

Galbraith is considered an American economist, but by birth (1908) he was a Canadian of Scottish descent. Home biography did not promise big scientific heights. Father had two good farms, and his first degree was in Ken Agricultural College, where he specialized in the breeding of livestock, and studied everything that might come in handy in the village - from the bread to the water supply.

Perhaps because he would have made a good farmer, if not the Great Depression. With his characteristic practicality Scot, Ken decided that it makes no sense to improve the breed of cattle, if it is still impossible to sell. And then from cattle Galbraith moved to the agricultural economy. In Canada, few prospects in this regard there was not, and the young man graduating from college went to Berkeley (CA). Local university major Californian banker Amadeo Giannini just rolled back the $ 1.5 million. To study the agrarian economy, and therefore had the opportunity to learn the financing.

Galbraith has mastered it. Deep penetrating into the essence of the problems California beekeeping, Ken immersed himself in the study of the question of why buyers prefer honey with orange flower honey with Shalfeeva. But then came an invitation to take the post of lecturer at Harvard, and it changed the whole life. Not that Harvard has attracted as the best university of the USA. Just give it more money, and Ken went across the continent from California to Boston.

When they reached the East Coast, Galbraith decided before the start of the semester in Washington to drop. Outside it was already 1934, and the administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt in full unfolded his "New Deal". The now fashionable to state regulation has created in the machine a lot of jobs, and students-economists for years to delay graduation, not to change the status of a student at the prestigious stamp of prestige of the unemployed now feverishly Append diplomas, seeking time to enter the Roosevelt team.

Washington`s bureaucratic center thrive. In one part of the new building of the Ministry of Agriculture work is already in full swing in full, while the other - still under construction, and the official could careless, striding down the hall, suddenly fall into failure. However, Galbraith, skillfully passing all the failures made it to the Office of Agricultural Regulation and immediately got to work part-time.

The absence of the young Canadian`s US citizenship nobody interested. Much more important was the fact that Galbraith - Democrat. A Democrat Ken was convinced. Once, as a child he was deeply impressed by his father at a political rally, climbing on a pile of manure, farmers apologized for what makes a conservative platform. Standing on this "platform" the young man did not want to, but because radicalism conservatism preferred.


The life of the young reformers Roosevelt`s appeal was nearly as difficult as the life of St. Petersburg intellectuals, is now conquering the first capital. Throughout the work week, he taught at Harvard. And on Friday night, presenting a cashier issued by the government of a free travel route "Boston - Washington," Galbraith sat in Pullman (analogue of our "Red Arrow"). By morning the young reformers has been in the ministry, where he spent the weekend.

In Washington, seething life, while at Harvard reigned stagnation. The Ministry blew the spirit of the new, while the elite university hit rabid anti-Semitism, expressed in quota on reception of the Jews. In the capital to make a career, while in Massachusetts sleepy students meet the lecturer indifference.

Galbraith, by his own admission, has learned to respond in kind. In this he imitated his idol, John Maynard Keynes, who, as the story of the bike Cambridge, lectured directly on the galleys of his "General Theory". Sometimes a few pages of text dropped out of the hands of a genius and showered under a chair, but Keynes never noticed. Students obviously too.

In addition to Keynes, the undisputed idol was Roosevelt. All generation has grown up under the sign of these two names have become a symbol of innovation. One day, a group of officials has been invited to a reception at the White House. Galbraith decided to present a gift to the president selective apple out of the basket, sent by Canadian relatives. But on the way he was so agitated that he gave his colleague. He worried more, and until his turn came to shake Roosevelt, the apple turned eaten.

Features characteristic of the generation of young reformers, left their mark on all his life, and Galbraith, first of all, to the future theory of society. But the time has come only theories in the 50s., And is Galbraith, received on the eve of his 30th anniversary of US citizenship, he does administrative career. In 1941 he was promoted to the head of the military set up to control the economy of the Bureau to control prices.

The success of the "new course" suggested the need for a comprehensive regulation of the economy, and generated by the war the rise in prices, has stimulated the adoption of stringent administrative decisions. Galbraith introduced the ceiling prices and quickly encountered an adequate response on the part of the economy.

How? We know better than any American economist. Adjust the price of meat - the meat began to disappear from the market. Force banned the trade tires (say, everything for the front, everything for victory) - it became clear that retailers have not heard anything about the ban. However, in 1942 all prices have been frozen until the end of the war.

The US economy is still sustained, Galbraith - no. Per person, regulating prices in the country, is a bastion of free enterprise, began to hang all the dogs. In 1943, he gently moved to the post of administrator of Lend-Lease in South Africa. In fact, it was the same for dismissal.

If the Lend-Lease and had somewhere to administer, then at least not in South Africa. Sinecure Galbraith wanted and quickly resigned.

Quiet harbor

As an honest man, he immediately went to a mobilization point, though, as an intelligent man, absolutely did not want to do that. Fortunately for the world of science, the reluctance coincided with the impossibility. Hefty Canadian was on two and a half inches above the increase that the army was able to equip and generally accept at least some way.

Galbraith, however, has worked for Uncle Sam. In the first post-war time, he was an expert on the ruined Germany. Then he worked in the State Department, where he did not admit to the real business, bearing in mind the "successes" mladoreformatorstva. Finally, he dropped everything and left the civil service. The nature of his activity proved is now associated with a completely new area - journalism.

Galbraith became a member of the editorial board of one of the world`s leading business publications - magazine Fortune. After writing a series of articles on topical economic issues, it is fairly practiced in the popular genre. Good easy writing style, along with a deep understanding of the essence of economic issues are key to the success of his future books. And the status of one of the major pillars of economic thought among American Democrats Regained even while working in the Roosevelt team, proved to be extremely important for the country to listen to the voices of John Kenneth Galbraith.

Listen, it`s true, in a very peculiar. Fortune on closer inspection turned out to be the publication that is respected by all, but no one reads. For journalists this, incidentally, is very convenient, because advertising revenues and, consequently, the size of the fees determined by the first factor, but not the second.

But Galbraith wanted more, and he soon returned to Harvard. Apparently, the money for it already had the basic values ??as at the time when he first crossed the threshold of this university. Chet Galbraith bought a "modest house" with an area of ??about 100 hectares, including meadows, forests, small lakes, as well as livestock - are many moose and beavers. In this situation, a good thought about the reforms needed to help the poor.

However, by itself the transition from the sphere of public life in a stormy silence professorial office did not go smoothly. In 1952, Galbraith took part in the unsuccessful presidential campaign of Adlai Stevenson. Democrats lost for the first time in 20 years, had to leave the White House. Galbraith, who often have, not knowing it, to think of themselves as part of a permanent government, lost access to the corridors of power in Washington.

The strike turned severe depression, from which did not save even the whiskey. In order to sleep, needed more sleeping pills. Classes with students were still indifferent professor. I had secretly (so as not to spoil the reputation of) address to the psychotherapist.

But really from depression brought no psychological help, and science. Having lost interest in everything else, Galbraith began to write book after book, and it is the new 20 birthday (about 1952-73 gg.) Made him a world-renowned scientist.

Blame Galbraith

It all started with a scandal. Writing to the 1955 book about the history of the Great Depression, Galbraith went to testify before the Senate Committee on the current state of affairs on the exchange. As he reminded the senators of the sad events of 1929, the exchange once again collapsed.

The Company realized at once who should be extreme, and fell to Harvard threatening letters. The faithful prayed for the unfortunate death of the professor, but then he went skiing and broke his leg. It became clear that the prayer has been heard. Religious Americans got stronger, and gradually fell behind by Galbraith.

It took another, however, an investigation by the FBI for "secret Communist activities", but the final conclusion was positive: "Reviews of Gelbreyte favorable, except for vanity, selfishness and snobby." All the qualities necessary to the great scientist, were present. The path to glory is open.

Galbraith has written many books, but truly innovative was the original trilogy, "The Affluent Society" (1958), "The New Industrial State" (1967), "Economic theory and goals of society" (1973).

"The Affluent Society" was the first study to ascertain the qualitative changes that have occurred in the United States (and to a certain extent in Europe) due to the rapid economic growth of the 50-ies. Previously, all the economists and sociologists (both left and right) came from the fact that the majority of the poor in society. Now it turned out that poverty is marginal. Dominated by the middle class, and all the actions of corporations and the government is now focused on him.

On the one hand, it is, for example, creates a completely new role of advertising (previously a narrow range of commodities for the poor is not much needed in the advertisement). On the other hand, politicians are not interested in poor voters. Out of politeness they sympathize. And then forget about them.

Galbraith as a man of the left-wing circles it was deeply concerned. And concern, in fact, became a stimulus for reflection, far beyond the limits of formation of economic policy left. In fact, there was a different concept of society, describing the connections and relationships, which simply was not in capitalism XIX - first half of the twentieth centuries.

After the "affluent society" work was interrupted for a while, since the beginning of the 60s. Democrats John F. Kennedy`s face again came to power, and Galbraith was suddenly the US ambassador to India.

It happened like this. Even if Republicans the White House has recommended India`s liberal Milton Friedman as an economic expert on the problems of the first five-year plans. Having learned about it from his Indian friends, Galbraith was horrified: Friedman for advice on planning - like asking a Catholic priest counseling clinic where abortions.

The Indians realized the mistake and invited himself Galbraith. He liked the country so that he jokingly remarked: "When the Democrats return to power, I will appoint himself as ambassador to India." And indeed, as soon as Kennedy via Galbraith, who worked in his team moved into the White House, the issue has gained urgency. The President does not want to make a radical who wrote "The Affluent Society", the head of the Committee of Economic Advisers, and India came in handy.

On the diplomatic dust-free Galbraith relaxed, traveled, he wrote a novel, a book about Indian painting, as well as "Notes Ambassador", which became a bestseller and brought a lot of money.

No kidding

Now you can return to "netlenke". Galbraith worked in a big way, taking a vacation at Harvard, he went to Switzerland and worked in the fresh mountain air. Thoughts of poverty once priobretalivelichestvennye form.

"New Industrial State" was difficult, which is not just stating unwitting general public facts. In this book, Galbraith builds a coherent theory. In fact, all subsequent theories of post-industrial, technetronic, cognitive associations, as well as mass consumption society, welfare (welfare), etc. It stems from this pioneer study Galbraith.

He discovered a completely new corporate management mechanism. The fact that the shareholders have given the power of managers, has been shown in the 30-ies. Galbraith also developed the theory of the managerial revolution and formulated the strange, at first glance, the thesis is not even the top management right up there Ball and technostructure as a whole. Technostructure - all qualified corporation from top to bottom. Anyone who has some knowledge, having neither the chief nor a colleague from another department.

Modern production is so complex that no one is able to cover all of it in your mind. Consequently, any decisions are prepared and even actually taken by lower or middle levels. Top management only approves them. And if does not approve this particular project, then sooner or later forced to agree to an alternative project prepared by another part of the technostructure. Thus, in any case, the control is a collective process.

Previously, society is almost always viewed as a hierarchical structure. Roughly speaking, the principle of "I - Head, you - fool". Now it turned out that the world of the second half of the twentieth century is based on the principle of "no fools, and all - chiefs." Later, in the 80-ies., A brilliant American scientist Alvin Toffler in his "Metamorphoses of power" analyzed with similar positions have the whole of society, not just large corporations.

Immediately after completion of the "new industrial society" Galbraith joined the struggle against the Vietnam War. And then I wrote another novel in which, however, the love scenes were similar to the report on scientific experiments. Author of the novel struck out all these scenes, and along with all the female characters. So much better.

At the turn of 60-70-ies. he reached his career peak. His books, regardless of genre snapped up like hotcakes, and translated into foreign languages. Even in the USSR "New Industrial State" from a distance after only two years after the appearance of the book in the United States. Nothing of the sort on the "apologists of capitalism," we have not had either before or after.

For the success of a bad job

Love the communist authorities to Galbraith was not accidental. Despite all the objective significance of his theory, he remained leftist reformer and constantly thinking about how to return the fuse radical Roosevelt era.

From the politicization of science clearly suffered. In particular, the arguments of the Galbraith kindred nature of large enterprises in the United States and the Soviet Union obviously did not stand the test of time. None of the promised convergence has not occurred to them. The Soviet economy collapsed, showing that the technostructure technostructure, but the importance of market regulation in the new industrial society does not disappear.

Not the best way looked at the background of real economic processes and the work of "Economic theory and goals of society." It Galbraith suggested a comprehensive program of reforms aimed at strengthening the state regulation. However, just as when a book was published, the economic crisis, after which the world has already become popular liberal deregulation theory.

The idea of ??reform in Galbraith was based on the fact that a large corporation, led technostructure, actually controls the market. And because it would be strange to expect from market forces, so beloved of liberals, they provide a natural control. Therefore, a state intervention.

In some Galbraith was right. For example, in the attention that he and the 50-ies. I paid state control over the environment. But in general, it is still greatly underestimated the market and the possibility of overestimating the forces of the state. After all, the bureaucracy only in the idealists always acts in the public interest. In fact, the state apparatus in the same way as business and the technostructure, prefers its own interests.

Galbraith understood that government regulation is effective only if the device itself will resist balancing its strength. However, in the search for this force he was naive, like many thinkers 60s. Professor relied on the academic community, which he contrasted the industrial technostructure. And in this his faith he is, oddly enough, reminded the students of the rebels in 1968, I believe that they are not like everyone else.

In the mid 70-ies. Galbraith took a television series on the economic history and wrote a couple of popular books. In 1980 he supported the election of younger Kennedy - Edward. And in 1987, supported by the Soviet perestroika. "Support cases doomed to failure, is still my specialty," - said Galbraith once with characteristic irony every outstanding person.