Canadian-born American economist John Kenneth Galbraith.

John Kenneth Galbraith

(1908 - 2006)

One of America’s foremost economists, John Kenneth Galbraith wrote The Affluent Society, which is said to have influenced the Great Society programs and in which he argued, “Wealth is the relentless enemy of understanding.” Galbraith published more than forty books, among them three novels, that have sold over seven million copies, making him the twentieth century’s most widely read economist. He taught at Harvard University on and off from 1934 until 1974 and advised or worked under the administrations of Democratic presidents ranging from Franklin Delano Roosevelt to Bill Clinton. Twice awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, he told his doctors shortly before his death, “You’re the finest medical team in what was formerly known as the free world.”

All Writing

Inventions that are not made, like babies that are not born, are rarely missed.

—John Kenneth Galbraith, 1958

It is far, far better and much safer to have a firm anchor in nonsense than to put out on the troubled seas of thought.

—John Kenneth Galbraith, 1958


Responding to William F. Buckley’s question as to whether or not he was free the last week in June 1975, the liberal economist John Kenneth Galbraith said, “That week I’ll be teaching at the University of Moscow.” Buckley replied, “Oh? What do you have left to teach them?”

Issues Contributed