Edited by Philip Arestis and Malcolm Sawyer
ALBRAITH (born 1908) Steven Pressman John Kenneth Galbraith was born in 1908 in Iona Station, a small town on the northern shore of Lake Erie. He grew up in rural Southern Ontario, part of Scotch Canada. By his own account, his schooling was interrupted several times by farm work and his academic record undistinguished. In the autumn of 1926, Galbraith enrolled at Ontario Agricultural College (OAC) in nearby Guelph. He was rather unimpressed with his fellow students. ‘Leadership in the student body was solidly in the hands of those who combined an outgoing anti-intellectualism with a sound interest in livestock.’ Faculty members were not any better. Practical instruction in the agricultural sciences, Galbraith thought, lacked content. In addition, ‘anyone who questioned the established agricultural truths, many of which were wildly wrong, was sharply rebuked and … marked down as a troublemaker’ (1971, p. 261). During his senior year at OAC, Galbraith noticed an advertisement for research assistantships in agricultural economics at Berkeley, with an annual stipend of $720. Attracted, Galbraith copied down the details, applied and was selected. Thus in 1931 Galbraith set out for California. Galbraith was very happy in Berkeley. In contrast to OAC, he encountered professors who knew their subjects and who invited debate, as well as bright and thoughtful students. At Berkeley, Galbraith was inﬂuenced primarily by the economics of Alfred Marshall and Thorstein Veblen. It was not until later that he was drawn to the economics of John Maynard Keynes. In his third year at...
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