John Kenneth Galbraith, famed economist, dies


CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) – John Kenneth Galbraith, the Harvard professor who won worldwide renown as a liberal economist, backstage politician and witty chronicler of affluent society, died Saturday night, his son said. He was 97.

Galbraith died of natural causes at Mount Auburn Hospital, where he was admitted nearly two weeks ago, Alan Galbraith said.

During a long career, the Canadian-born economist served as adviser to Democratic presidents from Franklin D. Roosevelt to Bill Clinton, and was John F. Kennedy’s ambassador to India.

“He had a wonderful and full life,” his son said. Galbraith, who was outspoken in his support of government action to solve social problems, became a large figure on the American scene in the decades after World War II.

He was one of America’s best-known liberals, and he never shied away from the label.

“There is no hope for liberals if they seek only to imitate conservatives, and no function either,” Galbraith wrote in a 1992 article in Modern Maturity, a publication of the American Association of Retired Persons.

One of his most influential books, “The Affluent Society,” was published in 1958.

It argued that the American economy was producing individual wealth but hasn’t adequately addressed public needs.

such as schools and highways. U.S. economists and politicians were still using the assumptions of the world of the past, where scarcity and poverty were near-universal, he said.

AP-ES-04-30-06 0005EDT