For over half a century, Canadian-born John Kenneth Galbraith (b. 1908) has been among the most visible of public intellectuals.
His articulate and controversial best-selling books-including The Affluent Society, Economics and the Public Purpose, and The New Industrial State-and his very partisan liberal Democrat political and public service activities secured a place for him among the rich and famous of his time. He worked as an adviser to President John F. Kennedy, served as U.S. ambassador to India (1961-1963), and edited Fortune magazine during the mid-1940s.
Among American economists of any era, he is rivaled only by Thorstein Veblen for the introduction of phrases that take on a life of their own in the literate idiom.
Such Galbraithian phrases as ""the conventional wisdom"" and the ""affluent society"" have become familiar even beyond Galbraith's remarkably wide readership.
No other economist of the twentieth century, excepting perhaps John Maynard Keynes, can claim so secure a place in the belles-lettres of the English-speaking world. This collection of interviews documents the long career of an influential economist and political philosopher who has spent much of his professional life in the public eye.
Many of the interviews are occasioned by publication of his books and contain their key themes such as the importance of Keynes, the need to include power in economic thinking, and the neglected priorities of aesthetics, poverty, and the environment in affluent America.
The interviews also indicate Galbraith's wide-ranging public service and his frequent hobnobbing with the political and intellectual elite.
Through the collection, which spans over four decades, Galbraith's erudition, wit, and impassioned liberalism shine through, making this volume an essential companion to his works.
James Ronald Stanfield, a professor of economics at Colorado State University, is the author of John Kenneth Galbraith, The Economic Thought of Karl Polanyi: Lives and Livelihood, and Economics, Power, and Culture: Essays in the Development of Radical Institutionalism.
Jacqueline Bloom Stanfield, a professor of sociology at the University of Northern Colorado, is the author of Married with Careers: Coping with Role Strain.
Her work has appeared in such periodicals as Social Science Journal, American Journal of Economics and Sociology, and Review of Social Economy.