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The New Industrial State (The James Madison Library in American Politics) With a New foreword by James K. Galbraith Edition

3.9 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0691131412
ISBN-10: 0691131414
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for the original edition: "The New Industrial State deserves the widest possible attention and discussion."--Raymond J. Saulnier, New York Times

Praise for the original edition: "[The New Industrial State] is a dazzling work, full of brilliant epigrams, intriguing aphorisms and sardonic humor."--Harvey H. Segal, Washington Post

Praise for the original edition: "[W]ithout a doubt one of the most provocative offerings of our time in the realm of economics."--John McCutcheon, Chicago Tribune

About the Author

John Kenneth Galbraith (1908-2006) was an eminent economist, the author of thirty-one books, and a member of four U.S. presidential administrations. He served as U.S. ambassador to India and president of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. At the time of his death, he was Paul M. Warburg Professor of Economics Emeritus at Harvard University.
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Product Details

  • Series: The James Madison Library in American Politics
  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press; With a New foreword by James K. Galbraith edition (April 29, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691131414
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691131412
  • Product Dimensions: 4.8 x 1.2 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #931,833 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Hans G. Despain on April 13, 2009
Format: Paperback
This is a superb book. It is a book, however, that has become dated. Its datedness should not dissuade potential readers. The datedness of "The New Industrial State" has only changed the books relevance and importance. When the book was first published in 1967, it accurately described how the then modern corporation functioned, its power structure, and the motivations of individuals who guided the decision making and development of the corporation.

This book should be understood to be part of a publication trilogy, starting with Galbraith's "Affluent Society," "The Industrial State," and "Economics and the Public Purpose." In my opinion "The Industrial State" is the apex of the series. It is however, the most technical of the three books. The "Affluent Society" being the most accessible.

For economic academia the book was revolutionary, because it radically challenged microeconomic and macroeconomic textbook accounts of markets and market adjustments. Microeconomics was challenged on several fronts. The most important being the motivation of the `power brokers' of the (then) modern corporation, what Galbraith called the "technostructure." The technostructure is a complex and imperfectly defined "collective" of (especially) "technical" and "specialized" staff members at the midrange management level. It was the decision making of the technical and specialized staff members who really determined the development direction of the (then) modern corporation. This is revolutionary because the motivation of these staffers, or technostructure, was not one of profit, but instead "identity" with the group/staff and corporation and (marginal) "adaptation" of the company's goal toward their own.
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Format: Hardcover
FROM THE PUBLISHER'S DESCRIPTION:

Is it possible to offer a single comprehensive view of modern economic life and of the changes that are shaping its future? Mr. Galbraith in this volume proves that it is. He begins with the world of advanced technology highly specialized manpower, and the five or six hundred giant corporations which bring these into use. He shows how these firms supply themselves with capital, how the men who comprise them are motivated, how organized intelligence has replaced ownership as the source of power in the modern enterprise. He shows how the market has declined as a guiding influence in economic life, to be replaced in substantial measure by planned decision as to what will be produced, at what prices and for whom.

Government in the industrial state, Mr. Galbraith makes clear can be understood only in light of the needs and goals of modern large-scale organization. And this profoundly shapes the prospect for trade unions, political parties, education and the larger culture itself. Only as we see the goals of the industrial system in a clear light will we avoid the danger of subordinating too much of life to their service. Only then will we exploit the opportunities inherent in well-being.

...

The publisher's description goes on to herald The New Industrial State as Galbraith's "most important book." The implicit comparison is with his earlier and immensely popular work, The Affluent Society. But the two books are quite closely related, as Galbraith mentions in the foreword: "I must again remind the reader that this book had its origins alongside The Affluent Society. It stands in relation to that book as a house to a window. This is the structure; the earlier book allowed the first glimpse inside.
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Format: Paperback
John Kenneth Galbraith didn't respect the literary conventions of economics. He didn't express himself in math, he made sweeping generalizations about society (not always backed by strong evidence), and he freely drew on the insights of history, sociology, and politics, paying little heed to interdisciplinary boundaries. For that reason, many economists looked down their noses at him. And for that reason, his books are still in print and enjoyed by readers decades after they first appeared. Galbraith was more than an economist. He was a great social critic, a great debunker of cant, and a superb prose stylist. He was the Veblen of post-World War II America.

He was at the top of his powers when he wrote "The New Industrial State" in the 1960s. The book came as close as anything did to summarizing the Galbraithian "system." Parts of it are outdated, such as the assertion that financial markets have little influence on big corporations, or the strained argument that the American and Soviet economic systems were "converging." Other parts, however, are as relevant today as they were 40 years ago, such as the critique of advertising and consumerism, or the analysis of how our gigantic defense industry shapes policy and influences the Pentagon. In a time when the Federal Reserve is bailing out banks and scrambling to protect the economy from the miscalculations of the financial sector, it's good to be reminded that the private sector looks to government to keep the economy on a even keel, no matter what the official ideology of the private sector may be.

Most of all, "The New Industrial State" displayed Galbraith's genius for stepping back and asking big questions. These continue to haunt economics, even though textbook writers bury them in footnotes.
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