A Journey Through Economic Time: A Firsthand View by John Kenneth Galbraith

By John Kenneth Galbraith

A well known economist offers an obtainable, far-reaching historical past of the century's economics from global conflict I and the Russian Revolution, during the melancholy and Keynesian idea, to colonialism's cave in and the increase of the 3rd international.

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Here clearly the human cost of ignorance. That the landed territory of the United States did not suffer any physical damage in the First World War, as again in World War II, has been often remarked. Also the American participation in the First Wara year and a halfwas relatively brief. But most important, the United States, in lesser measure even than France and Britain and in marked contrast with Germany, Austria-Hungary, the other Eastern European countries and Imperial Russia, did not have an economic and associated political system that was at risk.

So also, and more markedly, had military power. Beneath this ruling caste came the ancient merchant class and the capitalists, who, as noted, had replaced the artisans of an earlier time with the mass production and distribution of goods and the provision of transportation services. 1. John Maynard Keynes, The General Theory of Employment Interest and Money (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1936), p. 384. In the original title there were no commas, but commentators or their well-meaning editors have invariably added them.

Even in Russia, where the armies of Leon Trotsky established the requisite power base, Lenin, under the decisive force of economic circumstance, had to retreat to the market in the New Economic Policy, this to be reversed in later times by Joseph Stalin and then, with grave and contentious chaos, reversed once again in our own day. In Britain and France there was also articulate challenge to the established order but no serious revolutionary activity. Nor was there in the United States. Capitalism, tempered by democratic process, was showing itself to be a relatively secure economic system; the vulnerability that Marx and Engels had fore- Page 22 seen did not materialize.

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A Journey Through Economic Time: A Firsthand View by John Kenneth Galbraith
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