Research on The Affluent Society by John Kenneth Galbraith
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To form a critique of the book The Affluent Society by John Kenneth Galbraith one first must have a better idea of who exactly Professor Galbraith is and what his views are. This allows the reader to see where Galbraith is coming from. Galbraith at the times, when he has not been in government in one form or another, has been a Professor of economics at Harvard University. In addition to being an advisor to several Presidential candidates Galbraith was an adviser for President Kennedy and for a time the ambassador to India. Although he divorces himself from the concept somewhat in the book The Affluent Society Galbraith is a Keynesian Economist. Galbraith is a strong advocate of government spending to fight unemployment. He also sees it as important to use more of the nation’s wealth for public services and less for private consumption.
Many of these ideas are evident in Galbraith’s book. As Galbraith sees it:
- An affluent society is rich in private resources but poor in public ones.
- The above mentioned thesis is because of a misplaced priority on increasing production in the private sector.
- Galbraith argued that the U.S. should shift resources to improve schools, the infrastructure, recreational resources, and social services, providing a better services and quality of life instead of an ever increasing quantity of consumer goods.
- The term "affluent society" though has lost its original ironic meaning, which Galbraith intended and is now used simply to indicate widespread prosperity.
Galbraith sees the way the economy works and is structured as the reason and cause of poverty. As he sees it the current economic system is antiquated and based on a system, which should have been extinct a long time ago. As Galbraith states “…the economic prospect for the ordinary individual was remarkably dull… live on the edge of starvation… Progress would enhance the wealth of those who… were already rich.” Galbraith believes that this idea of the rich getting richer and the poor barely being able to survive has basically bled over into modern economics leaving misunderstanding of how the economy should work. People think as Galbraith points out “Nothing could be done about it… They have claim to be considered the propositions on which modern economic thought was founded.” As Galbraith sees it this idea that nothing could be done about it has infected current economic thought to make the change he talks about very hard to achieve.
A research paper provides an in-depth examination of The Affluent Society. More than just an overview of what was learned on The Affluent Society, like a term paper is, a research paper contains analysis of The Affluent Society along the lines of organizational theory and relevant published material. Research papers are highly analytical and can often be more than 8 to 10 pages. The key to a good research project is the examination of recently published journal articles and peer-reviewed material on the The Affluent Society chosen. Like the name implies, research papers are exactly that, a paper that examines the information that can be found on The Affluent Society.