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Goodbye Galbraith

JK Galbraith's real skill lay not in economic theorising but in public commentary

By John Kay   June 2006

As a schoolboy, I read The Great Crash, John Kenneth Galbraith’s account of the stock market boom of the 1920s and the bust that followed. It helped to persuade me that business and finance were interesting, even if many of the people who prospered from them were not, or were interesting only for their foolishness. How could so many people have been so stupid for so long, I wondered?

Twenty years later, in 1999, I picked up the book again, and was startled by how the new economy of the 1990s paralleled the new economy of the 1920s—not just in…

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