Magazine
Latest Issue

Trouble we’re in

As John Kenneth Galbraith turns 90, the American social balance which he celebrated in "The Affluent Society" has disappeared. Widening inequality and an atrophied civic culture seem irreversible, says a man who tried to turn the tide

By Robert Reich   November 1998

John Kenneth Galbraith has been one of the most buoyant dismal scientists of our age. Always lurking within US capitalism, he has argued, are corrective forces which will put back into balance whatever may temporarily have gone awry. In American Capitalism: The Concept of Countervailing Power (1952) he debunked the notion of a perfectly competitive modern economy, but reassured readers of the tendency within such a system towards balance between large aggregations of economic power, such as business and labour. Six years later, in The Affluent Society, he urged greater attention to the “social balance” between the production of private…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to letters@prospect-magazine.co.uk

More From Prospect