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American capitalism;: The concept of countervailing power Paperback – 1956


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin; Revised edition (1956)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0006AUH0W
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,982,140 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

John Kenneth Galbraith who was born in 1908, is the Paul M. Warburg Professor of Economics Emeritus at Harvard University and a past president of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He is the distinguished author of thirty-one books spanning three decades, including The Affluent Society, The Good Society, and The Great Crash. He has been awarded honorary degrees from Harvard, Oxford, the University of Paris, and Moscow University, and in 1997 he was inducted into the Order of Canada and received the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award for Lifetime Achievement. In 2000, at a White House ceremony, he was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Hans G. Despain on May 13, 2009
Format: Paperback
"American Capitalism" was John K. Galbraith's first best-seller. This book has several valuable historical and practical insights and remains a significant theoretical contribution, still relevant today. It was not the popular and academic success of "The Affluent Society," "The New Industrial State," and "Economics and the Public Purpose." However "American Capitalism" would be the theoretical groundbreaking of Galbraith's later efforts.

In this book Galbraith maintained the fundamental character of American Capitalism had transformed. The economic system was riddled with big firms and market concentration. Galbraith's book was an application and further development of Edward Chamberlin's and Joan Robinson's arguments and theories of imperfect competition.

Galbraith counters traditional market economists on the ideological mantra that markets equal political freedom. According to Galbraith, markets do not necessarily generate political freedom. If market competition leads to economic concentration then the result of market competition may be far from "freedom." Likewise Galbraith suggests that noncompetitive firms and industries can be more productive and efficient, not less efficient as suggested by textbooks of his era (a position still held in today's textbooks). Against his fellow liberals, Galbraith maintained that big firms (or oligopolies) did not necessarily threaten American democracy (a position he would continue to maintain in his later works; his son James K. Galbraith has radically challenged this position, not as having been wrong, but a political institutional transformation has occurred, giving rise to the "Predator State").
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