The author's response to the political and economic condition of the West today, this book traces the growth of a new, stultifying contentment in our society. Galbraith contrasts the condition of the underclass to that of the self-serving, politically dominant classes. He looks at the causes and by-products of the current politico-economic stasis, such as short-term thinking and investment, and draws parallels between the crippling denial of trouble in Eastern Europe and that in our own backyard. The author also wrote "The Affluent Society" and "The New Industrialist State".
John Kenneth Galbraith is Paul M. Warburg Professor of Economics, Emeritus, of Harvard University. He was born in 1908 in Ontario, Canada. After graduating from university in Canada and taking a PhD at the University of California, he taught first there and then at Harvard and Princeton. During the Second World War he was in charge of wartime price control, for which he received the Medal of Freedom and the President's Certificate of Merit. Later he was a director of both the US Strategic Bombing Survey and the Office of Economic Security Policy in the Department of State. He has been closely identified with the Democratic Party and from 1961 to 1963 was American Ambassador to India. He became an Honorary Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge in 1987. He is a member for literature, and a recent past President, of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Professor Galbraith's books, many of which are published by Penguin, include American Capitalism; The Great Crash 1929; The Affluent Society; The Liberal Hour; The Non-potable Scotch; The New Industrial State; Ambassador's Journal; Economics and the Public Purpose; Money: Whence It Came, Where It Went; The Age of Uncertainty; The Nature of Mass Poverty; The Anatomy of Power; A View from the Stands; Capitalism, Communism and Coexistence (with Stanislav Menshikov); A History of Economics and The Culture of Contentment. He is also the author of a book of satirical sketches, two best-selling novels and a study of Indian painting (with M. S. Randhawa). His volume of memoirs, A Life in Our Times, was published in 1981. He delivered the Reith Lectures in 1966.
Professor Galbraith is married with three sons and lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.