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The Culture of Contentment
John Kenneth Galbraith
With a new foreword by Jeff Madrick

Paperback | September 2017 | $22.95 | £18.95 | ISBN: 9780691171654
176 pp. | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2
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eBook | ISBN: 9781400889020 |
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The world has become increasingly separated into the haves and have-nots. In The Culture of Contentment, renowned economist John Kenneth Galbraith shows how a contented class—not the privileged few but the socially and economically advantaged majority—defend their comfortable status at a cost. Middle-class voting against regulation and increased taxation that would remedy pressing social ills has created a culture of immediate gratification, leading to complacency and hampering long-term progress. Only economic disaster, military action, or the eruption of an angry underclass seem capable of changing the status quo. A groundbreaking critique, The Culture of Contentment shows how the complacent majority captures the political process and determines economic policy.

John Kenneth Galbraith (1908–2006) was one of the most influential economists of the twentieth century. He was professor of economics at Harvard University and served as U.S. ambassador to India during the Kennedy administration. He wrote more than fifty books, including American Capitalism, The Affluent Society, and The New Industrial State (Princeton).


"Thought-provoking."--Kirkus Reviews


"The Culture of Contentment's core message about rising inequality, lessened economic mobility, and the serene self-satisfaction of those favored by such has been echoed and amplified endlessly in the last decade but rarely so elegantly and deftly."--Richard Parker, Harvard Kennedy School

Table of Contents:

Foreword ix
Jeff Madrick
A Word of Thanks xxv
1 The Culture of Contentment 1
2 The Social Character of Contentment: An Overview 11
3 The Functional Underclass 24
4 Taxation and the Public Services: The Perverse Effect 33
5 The License for Financial Devastation 40
6 The Bureaucratic Syndrome 51
7 The Economic Accommodation, I 61
8 The Economic Accommodation, II 74
9 The Foreign Policy of Contentment: The Recreational and the Real 85
10 The Military Nexus, I 95
11 The Military Nexus, II 103
12 The Politics of Contentment 112
13 The Reckoning, I 120
14 The Reckoning, II 129
15 Requiem 135
Index 143

Other Princeton books authored or coauthored by John Kenneth Galbraith:

Another Princeton book authored or coauthored by Jeff Madrick:

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File created: 7/24/2017

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