New Ideas in the Tradition of Galbraith
New Directions in Modern Economics series
Edited by Blandine Laperche, James K. Galbraith and Dimitri Uzunidis
Blandine Laperche, James K. Galbraith and Dimitri Uzunidis 1. GALBRAITH AND THE ANALYSIS OF ECONOMIC CHANGE John Kenneth Galbraith is regarded as an eminent economist of change; his analysis and thesis are, for the contributors of this book, a matter of deep reflection on the evolution of capitalism: taking account of the main changes of the economic context since the publication of J.K Galbraith’s main thesis, they bring new ideas which are fertile ground for new research. Before explaining the main new ideas developed in this book, let us go a bit further in the explanation of Galbraith’s contribution to economics. As already mentioned, change has an important place in all his works. First and foremost, J.K. Galbraith considers that economic theories cannot be understood without reference to the context in which they developed. His book Economics in Perspective: A Critical History (1987) succeeds in this exciting exercise. This is the reason why, in all his own developments, the explanation of the economic context has a very important role to play. In The Great Crash (1955) for example, the abundance of examples and stories demonstrates how financial panics affect real activity. They also show that economics, like history is made at least in part by individuals and, most important, they constitute an approach characterized by the generalization from example, which goes back to the first classical economists. For Galbraith, economics suffers from ‘the conventional wisdoms’ which prevent economists and politicians from having a clear view of economic problems and their...