Economics and the Public Purpose, by John Kenneth Galbraith. Boston: Houghton Miflin. 334 pp.
I hope I will be forgiven if I begin a discussion of John Kenneth Galbraith’s latest and most important book with a small lecture. The subject we call economics arose, during the 18th and early 19th centuries, as a branch of moral philosophy. By “moral” philosophy its practitioners emphasized the demarcation between their field of scrutiny, and that of “natural” philosophy, the province of astronomers, chemists, and the like. Inside the realm of moral philosophy took place those activities whose distinguishing characteristic was that they expressed contests of will; on the far side, the stars wheeled...
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