Continuing to troll the obits for my posts, I see that John Kenneth Galbraith has died. I've always known he was a major name in economics but I've never read any of his books, and didn't really know what his ideas were.
Here's a couple of quotes from the NY Times obituary:
[In his 1958 book The Affluent Society] he argued that America had become so obsessed with overproducing consumer goods that it had increased the perils of both inflation and recession by creating an artificial demand for frivolous or useless products, by encouraging overextension of consumer credit and by emphasizing the private sector at the expense of the public sector. He declared that this obsession with products like the biggest and fastest automobile damaged the quality of life in America by creating "private opulence and public squalor."
He remained optimistic about the ability of government to improve the lot of the less fortunate. "Let there be a coalition of the concerned," he urged. "The affluent would still be affluent, the comfortable still comfortable, but the poor would be part of the political system."
Has anyone read his work? What did you think?
I've often thought that if I could go back and re-do college, I would definitely have taken some classes in economics. I'm sure some readers out there will have ideas on this-- what are the top 5 books to read as a substitute for Econ 101?