John Kenneth Galbraith John Kenneth Galbraith, OC , Ph.D , LL.D (born October 15, 1908) is one of the most influential American economists of the twentieth-century, a Keynesian, and an institutionalist, with progressive values and a gift for writing accessible, popular books on economic topics in which he takes delight in describing ways in which economic theory does not always mesh with real life. The Canadian-born author of four dozen books and over one thousand articles was on the faculty of Harvard University from 1934 to 1975 (where he remains a professor emeritus). His book, The Affluent Society (1958), which became a bestseller, outlines how post-World War II America was becoming wealthy in the private sector but remained poor in the public sector, lacking social and physical infrastructure, and perpetuating income disparities. Galbraith served in the administrations of Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Baines Johnson. In 1961, Kennedy appointed him ambassador to India, where he served until 1963.
Although he is a former president of the American Economic Association, Galbraith is considered something of an iconoclast by many economists because he values non-technical political economy as opposed to relying solely on mathematical modeling. His work includes several books on economic topics (some of which were bestsellers in the late 1950s and during the 1960s) in which he describes ways in which economic theory does not always mesh with real life.
Publication in 2004 of a biography, John Kenneth Galbraith: His Life, His Politics, His Economics by his friend and fellow economist Richard Parker, has renewed widespread interest in his career and his ideas.