John Kenneth Galbraith has died at age 97 ...
The lanky Economist from Iona Station, Ontario has passed from the sight of man. He will surely be seen as one of the Giants of his Time, and he was certainly - for a time in the 1960's and 1970's - the most famous Economist on the planet.
I found myself in general agreement with many of his theories, and most directly came to see the basic wisdom in his assertion that Government, Unions, Consumer Associations, and other collectivities must act - and be allowed and encouraged to act - as a countervailing powers to the overwhelming power of Capital in Democratic and Market-oriented societies. He surely had great difficulty accepting that the erosion of such counterbalances over the last 25 years was wise, or even desirable. History will prove him correct in this regard - but we will pay him his due on that one far too late to save ourselves, I fear. His insights on matters such as consumer sovereignty and political capture are ones that we again, ignore at our own peril.
His life - and his long list of accomplishments - say all that really needs to be said. On the other hand, I did cringe when he talked derisively of his Canadian heritage - something that he was not really very proud of, for the most part. Despite this heritage, he became a quintessentially "American success story" (in the best sense of the term). Could his Canadian background have had anything to do with that? I could only imagine so.