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American Capitalism: The Concept of Countervailing Power (Classics in Economics) Paperback – January 1, 1993
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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").Read more ›
This book was first published in 1952, and then revised in 1956. He wrote in the Foreword to the 1956 edition, "In a book like this the line between economics and politics must truly be an imaginary one... this is an essay in social criticism... I pass under review ideas that are strongly held and positions that are warmly defended and, with some, at least, I take vigorous issue." He says early on that as the U.S. proceeds to higher levels of well-being, we tend to "retreat from social experiment"; the astute politician is the one who promises to defend the status quo (Pg. 10-11).Read more ›