This morning @J_K_Galbraith (or rather, his representative on earth) tweeted me to say:
Time 4 another look at JK Galbraith? @raffasadun @rodrikdani @neilrankinza @TheEconomist @diane1859 http://t.co/YjKfoAcbW4 via @cambup_books
I haven’t read Stephen Dunn’s book,, although I did meet the great man himself when I was at Harvard. He had stopped teaching by then, but funded a prize for the best teacher in the economics department, selected by a panel of graduate students. The panel members, including me, were invited to dinner at the Galbraith house. My colleagues were all American men and at least a foot taller than me, and Galbraith a foot taller then them, so I couldn’t hear all that much as I stood in the circle gathered around the great man.
[amazon_image id=”0521518768″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]The Economics of John Kenneth Galbraith: Introduction, Persuasion, and Rehabilitation[/amazon_image]
It’s been a while since I read any Galbraith and I must confess to never having been a huge fan. With hindsight, I had the technically-trained young economist’s suspicion of somebody who used no equations at all in any of his work, and that’s something I hope I’ve grown out of. One must also certainly admire Galbraith’s ability to popularize economics, and recognise that the subject is too important not to engage the public.
Just picking off my shelves a couple at random –and , they seem a mixed bag. The latter is a deservedly classic account of the crash, a terrific read. The former – a late (1994) book – is for me one of his weaker books, general political argument not well backed up by the economics; it has scarcely any mention of empirical evidence in it, for one thing. In between are the other classics such as and , writings of genius but stronger on assertion than convincing argument. But I’m open to persuasion.
[amazon_image id=”014103825X” link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]The Great Crash 1929[/amazon_image]