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James K. Galbraith

James K. Galbraith is a progressive American economist who writes frequently for mainstream and left-wing publications on economic topics. He is the son of renowned economist John Kenneth Galbraith.

From 1974 to 1975, Galbraith studied economics at King's College, Cambridge He later obtained degrees from Harvard and Yale.

From 1981 to 1982, he served on the staff of the US Congress, eventually as Executive Director of the Joint Economic Committee. In 1985, he was a guest scholar at the Brookings Institution in 1985.

Galbraith is currently a professor at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs and at the Department of Government, University of Texas at Austin. He is also national chairman of Economists Allied for Arms Reduction (ECAAR), an international association of professional economists concerned with peace and security issues. He is also a Senior Scholar with the Jerome Levy Economics Institute and Director of the University of Texas Inequality Project.

Galbraith books include: Balancing Acts: Technology, Finance and the American Future (1989), Created Unequal: The Crisis in American Pay (1998), and Industrial Change: A Global View, co-edited with Maureen Bemer, (2001)

He also contributes a column to the Texas Observer and contributes regularly to The Nation, The American Prospect, and The Progressive. His Op-Ed pieces have appeared in The New York Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe and other newspapers.

Like his colleague and compatriot, economist Paul Krugman, Galbraith is highly critical of the Bush administration's foreign policy apropos of the Iraq invasion:

There is a reason for the vulnerability of empires. To maintain one against opposition requires war — steady, unrelenting, unending war. And war is ruinous — from a legal, moral and economic point of view. It can ruin the losers, such as Napoleonic France, or Imperial Germany in 1918. And it can ruin the victors, as it did the British and the Soviets in the 20th century. Conversely, Germany and Japan recovered well from World War II, in part because they were spared reparations and did not have to waste national treasure on defense in the aftermath of defeat...The real economic cost of Bush's empire building is twofold: It diverts attention from pressing economic problems at home and it sets the United States on a long-term imperial path that is economically ruinous. [1]

He is also a merciless critic of his own profession:

Leading active members of today's economics profession, the generation presently in their 40s and 50s, have joined together into a kind of politburo for correct economic thinking. As a general rule — as one might expect from a gentleman's club — this has placed them on the wrong side of every important policy issue, and not just recently but for decades. They predict disaster where none occurs. They deny the possibility of events that then happen. They offer a "rape is like the weather" fatalism about an "inevitable" problem (pay inequality) that then starts to recede. They oppose the most basic, decent, and sensible reforms, while offering placebos instead. They are always surprised when something untoward (like a recession) actually occurs. And when finally they sense that some position cannot be sustained, they do not re-examine their ideas. Instead, they simply change the subject. [1]

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