Authors: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Enlightening quotes by John Kenneth Galbraith on politics, economics, astrology and life.

90 Inspirational Quotes By John Kenneth Galbraith That Will Give You Food For Thought

Quick Facts

Famous As: Economist

Born On: October 15, 1908

Died On: April 29, 2006

Born In: Iona Station

Died At Age: 97

John Kenneth Galbraith was undoubtedly one of the best economists the world has ever known. He was one of the few people who received the Medal of Freedom as well as the Presidential Medal of Freedom, during his lifetime. The French Government even bestowed him with the Commandeur de la Légion d'honneur title.

His views on economics and how it is interconnected with every sphere of life has be acclaimed and his views on why we are not being able to bridge the gap between the rich and poor hits the nail on the head.

Here is an excerpt from his speech which puts light on the actual issue of poverty.

“The problem is not economics; it goes back to a far deeper part of human nature. As people become fortunate in their personal well-being, and as countries become similarly fortunate, there is a common tendency to ignore the poor. Or to develop some rationalization for the good fortune of the fortunate. Responsibility is assigned to the poor themselves. Given their personal disposition and moral tone, they are meant to be poor. Poverty is both inevitable and in some measure deserved. The fortunate individuals and fortunate countries enjoy their well-being without the burden of conscience, without a troublesome sense of responsibility.”

Here are some inspirational quotes by John Kenneth Galbraith that will give you food for thought.

The conventional view serves to protect us from the painful job of thinking.

John Kenneth Galbraith

The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.

John Kenneth Galbraith

In economics, the majority is always wrong.

John Kenneth Galbraith

Meetings are indispensable when you don't want to do anything.

John Kenneth Galbraith

Total physical and mental inertia are highly agreeable, much more so than we allow ourselves to imagine. A beach not only permits such inertia but enforces it, thus neatly eliminating all problems of guilt. It is now the only place in our overly active world that does.

John Kenneth Galbraith

Politics is the art of choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable.

John Kenneth Galbraith

Power is not something that can be assumed or discarded at will like underwear.

John Kenneth Galbraith

The salary of the chief executive of a large corporation is not a market award for achievement. It is frequently in the nature of a warm personal gesture by the individual to himself.

John Kenneth Galbraith

A bad book is the worse that it cannot repent. It has not been the devil's policy to keep the masses of mankind in ignorance; but finding that they will read, he is doing all in his power to poison their books.

John Kenneth Galbraith

There are times in politics when you must be on the right side and lose.

John Kenneth Galbraith

Meetings are a great trap. Soon you find yourself trying to get agreement and then the people who disagree come to think they have a right to be persuaded. However, they are indispensable when you don't want to do anything.

John Kenneth Galbraith

Nothing is so admirable in politics as a short memory.

John Kenneth Galbraith

Much literary criticism comes from people for whom extreme specialization is a cover for either grave cerebral inadequacy or terminal laziness, the latter being a much cherished aspect of academic freedom.

John Kenneth Galbraith

Economics is a subject profoundly conducive to cliche, resonant with boredom. On few topics is an American audience so practiced in turning off its ears and minds. And none can say that the response is ill advised.

John Kenneth Galbraith

If wrinkles must be written upon our brows, let them not be written upon the heart. The spirit should never grow old.

John Kenneth Galbraith

The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable.

John Kenneth Galbraith

In the choice between changing ones mind and proving there's no need to do so, most people get busy on the proof.

John Kenneth Galbraith

Humor is richly rewarding to the person who employs it. It has some value in gaining and holding attention, but it has no persuasive value at all.

John Kenneth Galbraith

Few people at the beginning of the nineteenth century needed an adman to tell them what they wanted.

John Kenneth Galbraith

All of the great leaders have had one characteristic in common: it was the willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time. This, and not much else, is the essence of leadership.

John Kenneth Galbraith

All successful revolutions are the kicking in of a rotten door.

John Kenneth Galbraith

There are few ironclad rules of diplomacy but to one there is no exception. When an official reports that talks were useful, it can safely be concluded that nothing was accomplished.

John Kenneth Galbraith

The process by which banks create money is so simple that the mind is repelled.

John Kenneth Galbraith

The Metropolis should have been aborted long before it became New York, London or Tokyo.

John Kenneth Galbraith

It would be foolish to suggest that government is a good custodian of aesthetic goals. But, there is no alternative to the state.

John Kenneth Galbraith

We can safely abandon the doctrine of the eighties, namely that the rich were not working because they had too little money, the poor because they had much.

John Kenneth Galbraith

It has been the acknowledged right of every Marxist scholar to read into Marx the particular meaning that he himself prefers and to treat all others with indignation.

John Kenneth Galbraith

In any great organization it is far, far safer to be wrong with the majority than to be right alone.

John Kenneth Galbraith

The enemy of the conventional wisdom is not ideas but the march of events.

John Kenneth Galbraith

In the United States, though power corrupts, the expectation of power paralyzes.

John Kenneth Galbraith

I am worried about our tendency to over invest in things and under invest in people.

John Kenneth Galbraith

Under capitalism, man exploits man. Under communism, it’s just the opposite.

John Kenneth Galbraith

Liberalism is, I think, resurgent. One reason is that more and more people are so painfully aware of the alternative.

John Kenneth Galbraith

The commencement speech is not, I think, a wholly satisfactory manifestation of our culture.

John Kenneth Galbraith

The complaints of the privileged are too often confused with the voice of the masses.

John Kenneth Galbraith

People who are in a fortunate position always attribute virtue to what makes them so happy.

John Kenneth Galbraith

The conspicuously wealthy turn up urging the character building values of the privation of the poor.

John Kenneth Galbraith

More die in the United States of too much food than of too little

John Kenneth Galbraith

We all agree that pessimism is a mark of superior intellect.

John Kenneth Galbraith

Faced with the choice between changing one's mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everybody gets busy on the proof.

John Kenneth Galbraith

Of all classes the rich are the most noticed and the least studied.

John Kenneth Galbraith

We have escapist fiction, so why not escapist biography?

John Kenneth Galbraith

If all else fails, immortality can always be assured by spectacular error.

John Kenneth Galbraith

If you feed enough oats to the horse, some will pass through to feed the sparrows (referring to "trickle down" economics).

John Kenneth Galbraith

There are two kinds of forecasters: those who don’t know, and those who don’t know they don’t know.

John Kenneth Galbraith

You will find that the State is the kind of organization which, though it does big things badly, does small things badly, too.

John Kenneth Galbraith

In all life one should comfort the afflicted, but verily, also, one should afflict the comfortable, and especially when they are comfortably, contentedly, even happily wrong.

John Kenneth Galbraith

The sense of responsibility in the financial community for the community as a whole is not small. It is nearly nil.

John Kenneth Galbraith

Wealth, in even the most improbable cases, manages to convey the aspect of intelligence.

John Kenneth Galbraith

Economics is extremely useful as a form of employment for economists.

John Kenneth Galbraith

There's a certain part of the contented majority who love anybody who is worth a billion dollars.

John Kenneth Galbraith

Milton Friedman’s misfortune is that his economic policies have been tried.

John Kenneth Galbraith

It is a far, far better thing to have a firm anchor in nonsense than to put out on the troubled seas of thought.

John Kenneth Galbraith

Politics is not the art of the possible. It consists in choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable.

John Kenneth Galbraith

Wealth is not without its advantages and the case to the contrary, although it has often been made, has never proved widely persuasive.

John Kenneth Galbraith

Americans had built themselves a world of speculative pipe dreams. That world was inhabited, not by people who had to be convinced, but by people who sought excuses for believing.

John Kenneth Galbraith

There is certainly no absolute standard of beauty. That precisely is what makes its pursuit so interesting.

John Kenneth Galbraith

We are becoming the servants in thought, as in action of the machine we have created to serve us.

John Kenneth Galbraith

The great dialectic in our time is not, as anciently and by some still supposed, between capital and labor; it is between economic enterprise and the state.

John Kenneth Galbraith

One of my greatest pleasures in writing has come from the thought that perhaps my work might annoy someone of comfortably pretentious position. Then comes the saddening realization that such people rarely read.

John Kenneth Galbraith

Under capitalism, man exploits man; while under socialism just the reverse is true.

John Kenneth Galbraith

Money differs from an automobile or mistress in being equally important to those who have it and those who do not.

John Kenneth Galbraith

Trickle-down theory - the less than elegant metaphor that if one feeds the horse enough oats, some will pass through to the road for the sparrows.

John Kenneth Galbraith

Wisdom... is often an abstraction associated not with fact or reality but with the man who asserts it and the manner of its assertion.

John Kenneth Galbraith

Then the shit hit the fan.

John Kenneth Galbraith

By all but the pathologically romantic, it is now recognized that this is not the age of the small man.

John Kenneth Galbraith

War remains the decisive human failure.

John Kenneth Galbraith

If there must be madness, something may be said for having it on a heroic scale

John Kenneth Galbraith

Man, at least when educated, is a pessimist. He believes it safer not to reflect on his achievements; Jove is known to strike such people down.

John Kenneth Galbraith

Faced with the choice between changing one’s mind and proving there is no need to do so, most people get busy on the proof.

John Kenneth Galbraith

There is something wonderful in seeing a wrong-headed majority assailed by truth.

John Kenneth Galbraith

Wealth is the relentless enemy of understanding

John Kenneth Galbraith

But there is merit even in the mentally retarded legislator. He asks the questions that everyone is afraid to ask for fear of seeming simple.

John Kenneth Galbraith

One of the greatest pieces of economic wisdom is to know what you do not know.

John Kenneth Galbraith

The process by which money is created is so simple that the mind is repelled.

John Kenneth Galbraith

Men of conservative temperament have long suspected that one thing leads to another.

John Kenneth Galbraith

Few can believe that suffering, especially by others, is in vain. Anything that is disagreeable must surely have beneficial economic effects.

John Kenneth Galbraith

Do not be alarmed by simplification, complexity is often a device for claiming sophistication, or for evading simple truths.

John Kenneth Galbraith

The income men derive from producing things of slight consequence is of great consequence to them.

John Kenneth Galbraith

Men can labor to make sense out of single steps toward the goal without ever pausing to reflect that the goal itself is ludicrous.

John Kenneth Galbraith

Decision has greater virtue and force if taken after there has been eloquent dissent.

John Kenneth Galbraith

Economists are generally negligent of their heroes.

John Kenneth Galbraith

A person buying ordinary products in a supermarket is in touch with his deepest emotions.

John Kenneth Galbraith

Wisdom, itself, is often an abstraction associated not with fact or reality but with the man who asserts it and the manner of its assertion.

John Kenneth Galbraith

There is an old saying, or should be, that it is a wise economist who recognizes the scope of his own generalizations.

John Kenneth Galbraith

All crisis have involved debt that, in one fashion or another, has become dangerously out of scale in relation to the underlying means of payment.

John Kenneth Galbraith

In economics, hope and faith coexist with great scientific pretension and also a deep desire for respectability.

John Kenneth Galbraith

Galbraith's First Law: Modesty is a vastly overrated virtue.

John Kenneth Galbraith

In the world of minor lunacy, the behavior of both the utterly rational and the totally insane seems equally odd.

John Kenneth Galbraith

The capacity for erroneous belief is very great, especially where it coincides with convenience.

John Kenneth Galbraith