Quotes by John Kenneth Galbraith

Modesty is a vastly overrated virtue.
- John Kenneth Galbraith
War remains the decisive human failure.
- John Kenneth Galbraith
In economics, the majority is always wrong.
- John Kenneth Galbraith
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Nothing is so admirable in politics as a short memory.
- John Kenneth Galbraith
We have escapist fiction, so why not escapist biography?
- John Kenneth Galbraith
We all agree that pessimism is a mark of superior intellect.
- John Kenneth Galbraith
All successful revolutions are the kicking in of a rotten door.
- John Kenneth Galbraith
More die in the United States of too much food than of too little.
- John Kenneth Galbraith
Meetings are indispensable when you don't want to do anything.
- John Kenneth Galbraith
Of all classes the rich are the most noticed and the least studied.
- John Kenneth Galbraith
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Economics is extremely useful as a form of employment for economists.
- John Kenneth Galbraith
There are times in politics when you must be on the right side and lose.
- John Kenneth Galbraith
The enemy of the conventional wisdom is not ideas but the march of events.
- John Kenneth Galbraith
If all else fails, immortality can always be assured by spectacular error.
- John Kenneth Galbraith
Politics is the art of choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable.
- John Kenneth Galbraith
The conventional view serves to protect us from the painful job of thinking.
- John Kenneth Galbraith
One of the greatest pieces of economic wisdom is to know what you do not know.
- John Kenneth Galbraith
Power is not something that can be assumed or discarded at will like underwear.
- John Kenneth Galbraith
The process by which banks create money is so simple that the mind is repelled.
- John Kenneth Galbraith
The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable.
- John Kenneth Galbraith
In the United States, though power corrupts, the expectation of power paralyzes.
- John Kenneth Galbraith
Under capitalism, man exploits man. Under communism, it's just the opposite.
- John Kenneth Galbraith
There is something wonderful in seeing a wrong-headed majority assailed by truth.
- John Kenneth Galbraith
Wealth, in even the most improbable cases, manages to convey the aspect of intelligence.
- John Kenneth Galbraith
The Metropolis should have been aborted long before it became New York, London or Tokyo.
- John Kenneth Galbraith
A person buying ordinary products in a supermarket is in touch with his deepest emotions.
- John Kenneth Galbraith
People who are in a fortunate position always attribute virtue to what makes them so happy.
- John Kenneth Galbraith
The commencement speech is not, I think, a wholly satisfactory manifestation of our culture.
- John Kenneth Galbraith
Few people at the beginning of the nineteenth century needed an adman to tell them what they wanted.
- John Kenneth Galbraith
The conspicuously wealthy turn up urging the character building values of the privation of the poor.
- John Kenneth Galbraith
In any great organization it is far, far safer to be wrong with the majority than to be right alone.
- John Kenneth Galbraith
There's a certain part of the contented majority who love anybody who is worth a billion dollars.
- John Kenneth Galbraith
By all but the pathologically romantic, it is now recognized that this is not the age of the small man.
- John Kenneth Galbraith
There is certainly no absolute standard of beauty. That precisely is what makes its pursuit so interesting.
- John Kenneth Galbraith
Politics is not the art of the possible. It consists in choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable.
- John Kenneth Galbraith
In economics, hope and faith coexist with great scientific pretension and also a deep desire for respectability.
- John Kenneth Galbraith
It is a far, far better thing to have a firm anchor in nonsense than to put out on the troubled seas of thought.
- John Kenneth Galbraith
Money differs from an automobile or mistress in being equally important to those who have it and those who do not.
- John Kenneth Galbraith
If wrinkles must be written upon our brows, let them not be written upon the heart. The spirit should never grow old.
- John Kenneth Galbraith
Liberalism is, I think, resurgent. One reason is that more and more people are so painfully aware of the alternative.
- John Kenneth Galbraith
In the choice between changing ones mind and proving there's no need to do so, most people get busy on the proof.
- John Kenneth Galbraith
You will find that the State is the kind of organization which, though it does big things badly, does small things badly, too.
- John Kenneth Galbraith
It would be foolish to suggest that government is a good custodian of aesthetic goals. But, there is no alternative to the state.
- John Kenneth Galbraith
Wealth is not without its advantages and the case to the contrary, although it has often been made, has never proved widely persuasive.
- John Kenneth Galbraith
Faced with the choice between changing one's mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof.
- John Kenneth Galbraith
Few can believe that suffering, especially by others, is in vain. Anything that is disagreeable must surely have beneficial economic effects.
- John Kenneth Galbraith
Humor is richly rewarding to the person who employs it. It has some value in gaining and holding attention, but it has no persuasive value at all.
- John Kenneth Galbraith
We can safely abandon the doctrine of the eighties, namely that the rich were not working because they had too little money, the poor because they had much.
- John Kenneth Galbraith
The great dialectic in our time is not, as anciently and by some still supposed, between capital and labor; it is between economic enterprise and the state.
- John Kenneth Galbraith
The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.
- John Kenneth Galbraith
It has been the acknowledged right of every Marxist scholar to read into Marx the particular meaning that he himself prefers and to treat all others with indignation.
- John Kenneth Galbraith
In all life one should comfort the afflicted, but verily, also, one should afflict the comfortable, and especially when they are comfortably, contentedly, even happily wrong.
- John Kenneth Galbraith
There are few ironclad rules of diplomacy but to one there is no exception. When an official reports that talks were useful, it can safely be concluded that nothing was accomplished.
- John Kenneth Galbraith
The salary of the chief executive of a large corporation is not a market award for achievement. It is frequently in the nature of a warm personal gesture by the individual to himself.
- John Kenneth Galbraith
Much literary criticism comes from people for whom extreme specialization is a cover for either grave cerebral inadequacy or terminal laziness, the latter being a much cherished aspect of academic freedom.
- John Kenneth Galbraith
Economics is a subject profoundly conducive to cliche, resonant with boredom. On few topics is an American audience so practiced in turning off its ears and minds. And none can say that the response is ill advised.
- John Kenneth Galbraith
A bad book is the worse that it cannot repent. It has not been the devil's policy to keep the masses of mankind in ignorance; but finding that they will read, he is doing all in his power to poison their books.
- John Kenneth Galbraith
All of the great leaders have had one characteristic in common: it was the willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time. This, and not much else, is the essence of leadership.
- John Kenneth Galbraith
Meetings are a great trap. Soon you find yourself trying to get agreement and then the people who disagree come to think they have a right to be persuaded. However, they are indispensable when you don't want to do anything.
- John Kenneth Galbraith
Total physical and mental inertia are highly agreeable, much more so than we allow ourselves to imagine. A beach not only permits such inertia but enforces it, thus neatly eliminating all problems of guilt. It is now the only place in our overly active world that does.
- John Kenneth Galbraith

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