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The good state

Octogenarian economist John Kenneth Galbraith no longer fulminates against consumerism. But, says Kenneth Minogue, his view of the good society is still irredeemably statist

By Kenneth Minogue   December 1996

The big news is that John Kenneth Galbraith has come to terms with reality. He has discovered that human beings “do not rise” to the heights of socialism: “Generations of socialists and socially oriented leaders have learned this to their disappointment and more often to their sorrow. The basic fact is clear: the good society must accept men and women as they are.”

That human beings are not virtuous enough for socialism is, I suppose, a common view among idealists. As it happens, I take the view that socialism is not good enough for human beings, a point we shall…

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