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Welcome to Lachlan Cranswick's Personal Homepage in Melbourne, Australia

Extracts from "Economics and the Public Purpose" by John Kenneth Galbraith (First Published 1973)

Lachlan's Homepage is at http://lachlan.bluehaze.com.au

[Back to Lachlan's Homepage] | [What's New at Lachlan's Homepage] | [Historial things, Literature and Poetry] | [Literature]

[Galbraith: The Great Crash: 1929] | [Galbraith: Culture of Contentment] | [Galbraith: Money] | [Galbraith: Economics and the Public Purpose]
[Popper: Open Society and its Enemies vol 1] | [Popper: Open Society and its Enemies vol 2]
[Maggee: on the Philosphy of Karl Popper] | [Popper: Poverty of Historicism]
[Beard: An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States]

Extracts from "Economics and the Public Purpose", John Kenneth Galbraith, First Published 1973

From Chapter 1: The Uses of an Economic System - and of Economics

Extracts from "Economics and the Public Purpose", John Kenneth Galbraith, First Published 1973, Page 25

The changing character of the universities has also been a factor. They have increased greatly in size and complexity in recent decades in response to industrial need. And in consequence of their size and importance - a fortunate paradox - they have become an increasingly independent force in themselves. Once the dissident faced sanctions; he might be found out and fired. Now he merely forgoes the reputable applause. This a man of modest courage can face. There is little doubt that revolutions tend to break out in the United States at the point in history where they have become comparatively safe. So with this one.

From Chapter 3: The neo-classical model II: The State

Extracts from "Economics and the Public Purpose", John Kenneth Galbraith, First Published 1973, Page 44

One consequence of the rejection of the neo-classical model is a renewed interest in Marx. The Marxian system was the great alternative to classical economic thought. Numerous of its tenets are in striking contrast with the more implausible assumptions of the neo-classical model. It accords a major role to the large enterprise. That enterprise and its owner, capitalist, do not lack power. Their superior technical competence is also granted. So is their tendency to combine into fewer units of ever greater size - the tendency to capitalist concentration. The capitalists are not subordinate to the state; the state is their executive conunittee.

This reaction is not one, as the ensuing pages make clear, in which I concur. Marx saw much of the tendency of capitalist development, but he did not have the supernatural of power seeing in his time all that would eventually transpire. Much has happened since Marx of which account must now be taken. But because he was so long forbidden to honest thought, honesty and courage are now associated with the full acceptance of his system. This is to substitute one insufficient view of economic society for another. Honesty and perhaps also courage are associated with acceptance of what exists.

From Chapter 4: Consumption and the Concept of the Household

Extracts from "Economics and the Public Purpose", John Kenneth Galbraith, First Published 1973, Page 46

Personal service has always been threatened by the more attractive labour opportunities provided by industrial development. It is also made more necessary by the wealth that such development provides. Not surprisingly, therefore, much effort has been devoted in the past hundred years to finding ways of preserving it or in finding surrogates for it or in devising substitutes. The search for surrogates has led generally to women and the family. It has made use of a pervasive force in the shaping of social attitudes - one that has often been sensed but rarely described. A name for it is needed, and it may be called the Convenient Social Virtue.

The convenient social virtue ascribes merit to any pattern of behaviour, however uncomfortable or unnatural for the individual involved, that serves the comfort or well-being of, or is otherwise advantageous for, the more powerful members of the community. The moral commendation of the community for convenient and therefore, virtuous behaviour then serves as a substitute for pecuniary compensation. Inconvenient behaviour becomes, deviant behaviour and is subject to the righteous disapproval or sanction of the community.

The convenient social virtue is widely important for inducing people to perform unpleasant services. In the past it has attached strongly to the cheerful, dutiful draftee who, by accepting military services at rates of pay well below the market, appreciably eased the burden of taxes on the relatively well-to-to taxpayer. Anyone resistant to such service was condemned deeply unpatriotic or otherwise despicable. The convenient social virtue has also helped obtain the charitable and compassionate services of nurses, custodial personnel and other hospital staff. Here, too, the resulting merit in the eyes of the community served as a partial substitute for compensation. (Such merit was never deemed a wholly satisfactory substitute for remuneration in the case of physicians.)

From Chapter 8: Self-Exploitation and Exploitation

Extracts from "Economics and the Public Purpose", John Kenneth Galbraith, First Published 1973, Page 90

Along with the farmer, the small-town tradesman, the small manufacturer or processor or other small employer has also been a point of strong resistance to unions, wages hours legislation, social security legislation and other regulation of conditions of work. Large firms, far more closely associated with exploitation in the imagery of social thought, have been far less resistant. This has been a puzzle to all who dwell on the surface of matters. Why should the good small man be so bad? Usually it has been concluded that a minimal grasp of social issues go naturally with a minimal scale of operations - or that there is something peculiarly retarding about any association with soil. We see that, as usual, the actual explanation is well grounded in economic circumstance. The small entrepreeur being comparatively powerless in his market, cannot with certainty pass higher wage costs or benefits along to the public in his Price. And he correctly senses that he survives by being able to reduce the wage that he receives for the effort he expends. He seeks to retain the same right as regards those whom he employs. Thus his resistance to unions, minimum wage legislation or whatever might increase his wage costs.

The large corporation is the recipient of little social praise. The small entrepreneur, in contrast, is all but universally admired. Part of this is social nostalgia; the small businessman is the modern counterpart of the small firm of the classically competative economy. As such, he is a reminder of a simpler and more comprehensible world. But more of the praise, without doubt, reflects the convenient social virtue. What is praised is what serves the comfort and convenience of the community.

Not all that is so praised withstands close examination. Thus the small entrepreneur is hailed as a man of rugged independence. That this independence is often circumscribed both in principle and in practice by a strenuous struggle for survival goes unmentioned. He is said, in contrast with the organization man, to be admirably unfettered in his political and social views. As just noted, these are likely, out of necessity, to be an uncompassioriate reflection of self-interest. Living outside of organization, he is said to rejoice in freedom from the discipline of organization. No one gives him orders; no one supervises his work. He can look any man in the eye. It is not noted that this often the caution, conformity, obeisance, even servility, of a man whose livelihood is at the mercy of his customers. His is often the freedom of a man who is pecked to death by ducks.

From Chapter X:

Extracts from "Economics and the Public Purpose", John Kenneth Galbraith, First Published 1973, Page XX

From Chapter X:

Extracts from "Economics and the Public Purpose", John Kenneth Galbraith, First Published 1973, Page XX

From Chapter X:

Extracts from "Economics and the Public Purpose", John Kenneth Galbraith, First Published 1973, Page XX

From Chapter X:

Extracts from "Economics and the Public Purpose", John Kenneth Galbraith, First Published 1973, Page XX

From Chapter X:

Extracts from "Economics and the Public Purpose", John Kenneth Galbraith, First Published 1973, Page XX

From Chapter X:

Extracts from "Economics and the Public Purpose", John Kenneth Galbraith, First Published 1973, Page XX

From Chapter X:

Extracts from "Economics and the Public Purpose", John Kenneth Galbraith, First Published 1973, Page XX

From Chapter X:

Extracts from "Economics and the Public Purpose", John Kenneth Galbraith, First Published 1973, Page XX

From Chapter X:

Extracts from "Economics and the Public Purpose", John Kenneth Galbraith, First Published 1973, Page XX

From Chapter X:

Extracts from "Economics and the Public Purpose", John Kenneth Galbraith, First Published 1973, Page XX

From Chapter X:

Extracts from "Economics and the Public Purpose", John Kenneth Galbraith, First Published 1973, Page XX

From Chapter X:

Extracts from "Economics and the Public Purpose", John Kenneth Galbraith, First Published 1973, Page XX

From Chapter X:

Extracts from "Economics and the Public Purpose", John Kenneth Galbraith, First Published 1973, Page XX

From Chapter X:

Extracts from "Economics and the Public Purpose", John Kenneth Galbraith, First Published 1973, Page XX

From Chapter X:

Extracts from "Economics and the Public Purpose", John Kenneth Galbraith, First Published 1973, Page XX

From Chapter X:

Extracts from "Economics and the Public Purpose", John Kenneth Galbraith, First Published 1973, Page XX

From Chapter X:

Extracts from "Economics and the Public Purpose", John Kenneth Galbraith, First Published 1973, Page XX

From Chapter X:

Extracts from "Economics and the Public Purpose", John Kenneth Galbraith, First Published 1973, Page XX

From Chapter X:

Extracts from "Economics and the Public Purpose", John Kenneth Galbraith, First Published 1973, Page XX

From Chapter X:

Extracts from "Economics and the Public Purpose", John Kenneth Galbraith, First Published 1973, Page XX

From Chapter X:

Extracts from "Economics and the Public Purpose", John Kenneth Galbraith, First Published 1973, Page XX

From Chapter X:

Extracts from "Economics and the Public Purpose", John Kenneth Galbraith, First Published 1973, Page XX

From Chapter X:

Extracts from "Economics and the Public Purpose", John Kenneth Galbraith, First Published 1973, Page XX

From Chapter X:

Extracts from "Economics and the Public Purpose", John Kenneth Galbraith, First Published 1973, Page XX

From Chapter X:

Extracts from "Economics and the Public Purpose", John Kenneth Galbraith, First Published 1973, Page XX

From Chapter X:

Extracts from "Economics and the Public Purpose", John Kenneth Galbraith, First Published 1973, Page XX

From Chapter X:

Extracts from "Economics and the Public Purpose", John Kenneth Galbraith, First Published 1973, Page XX

From Chapter X:

Extracts from "Economics and the Public Purpose", John Kenneth Galbraith, First Published 1973, Page XX

From Chapter X:

Extracts from "Economics and the Public Purpose", John Kenneth Galbraith, First Published 1973, Page XX


[Galbraith: The Great Crash: 1929] | [Galbraith: Culture of Contentment] | [Galbraith: Money]
[Popper: Open Society and its Enemies vol 1] | [Popper: Open Society and its Enemies vol 2]
[Maggee: on the Philosphy of Karl Popper] | [Popper: Poverty of Historicism]
[Beard: An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States]

[Back to Lachlan's Homepage] | [What's New at Lachlan's Homepage] | [Historial things, Literature and Poetry] | [Literature]

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