John Kenneth Galbraith

On this date in 1908, John Kenneth Galbraith was born in Iona Station, Ontario, Canada. He earned his B.S. at the University of Toronto in 1931 and his M.S. there in 1933. He received his doctorate at the University of California in 1934. Galbraith taught there and at Princeton before joining Harvard’s faculty. He was Paul M. Warburg Professor of Economics Emeritus at Harvard, where he retired in 1975.

His first best-seller was The Affluent Society, 1958, a warning about U.S. inattention to social welfare, which was followed by The New Industrial State (1967) and Economics and the Public Purpose (1973). His other books include many on economics, as well as Annals of an Abiding Liberal (1979) and A Life in Our Times (1981).

During World War II, Galbraith was in charge of wartime price control and was given the Medal of Freedom in 1946. A Democrat, he campaigned for Adlai Stevenson in 1952 and 1956, was ambassador to India for two years under John F. Kennedy and was an adviser and speechwriter to JFK, Eugene McCarthy and George McGovern. Galbraith was an early critic of the Vietnam War. He was married to Catherine Atwater and they had three sons. The American Humanist Association named Galbraith Humanist of the Year in 1985. D. 2006.

Dutch National Archives photo: Galbraith in 1982.

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