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date: 16 September 2021

J. K. Galbraith 1908–2006
Canadian-born American economist 

  1. The affluent society.
    title of book (1958)
  2. These are the days when men of all social disciplines and all political faiths seek the comfortable and the accepted; when the man of controversy is looked upon as a disturbing influence; when originality is taken to be a mark of instability; and when, in minor modification of the scriptural parable, the bland lead the bland.
    The Affluent Society (1958) ch. 1
  3. Consumer wants can have bizarre, frivolous, or even immoral origins, and an admirable case can still be made for a society that seeks to satisfy them. But the case cannot stand if it is the process of satisfying wants that creates the wants.
    The Affluent Society (1958) ch. 11
  4. It is a far, far better thing to have a firm anchor in nonsense than to put out on the troubled seas of thought.
    The Affluent Society (1958) ch. 11
  5. In a community where public services have failed to keep abreast of private consumption things are very different. Here, in an atmosphere of private opulence and public squalor, the private goods have full sway.
    The Affluent Society (1958) ch. 18
  6. The greater the wealth, the thicker will be the dirt.
    The Affluent Society (1958) ch. 18
  7. In the affluent society no useful distinction can be made between luxuries and necessaries.
    The Affluent Society (1958) ch. 21
  8. It is not necessary to advertise food to hungry people, fuel to cold people, or houses to the homeless.
    American Capitalism (1952)
  9. The salary of the chief executive of the large corporation is not a market reward for achievement. It is frequently in the nature of a warm personal gesture by the individual to himself.
    Annals of an Abiding Liberal (1979)
  10. Trickle-down theory—the less than elegant metaphor that if one feeds the horse enough oats, some will pass through to the road for the sparrows.
    The Culture of Contentment (1992)
  11. A wrong decision isn't forever; it can always be reversed. The losses from a delayed decision are forever; they can never be retrieved.
    A Life in our Times (1981) ch. 21
  12. The Alps, the Rockies and all other mountains are related to the earth, the Himalayas to the heavens.
    A Life in our Times (1981) ch. 21
  13. We do not experience and thus we have no measure of the disasters we prevent.
    A Life in our Times (1981) ch. 26
  14. Migration…is the oldest action against poverty. It selects those who most want help. It is good for the country to which they go; it helps break the equilibrium of poverty in the country from which they came.
    The Nature of Mass Poverty (1979)
  15. Meetings are a great trap…However, they are indispensable when you don't want to do anything.
    Ambassador's Journal (1969) 22 April 1961
  16. Politics is not the art of the possible. It consists in choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable.
    speech to President Kennedy, 2 March 1962; see Bismarck
  17. In all life one should comfort the afflicted but verily, also, one should afflict the comfortable, especially when they are comfortably, contentedly, even happily wrong.
    in Observer 30 July 1989
  18. If all else fails, immortality can always be assured by adequate error.
    often quoted as ‘by a spectacular error’
    Money, Whence It Came, Where It Went (1995)