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

The most mouth-watering John Kenneth Galbraith quotes that are simple and will have a huge impact on you

Oligopoly is an imperfect monopoly. Like the despotism of the Dual Monarchy, it is saved only by its incompetence.


Under capitalism, man exploits man. Under communism, it's just the opposite.


Mr. David Stockman has said that supply-side economics was merely a cover for the trickle-down approach to economic policy — what an older and less elegant generation called the horse-and-sparrow theory: If you feed the horse enough oats, some will pass through to the road for the sparrows.


Commencement oratory must eschew anything that smacks of partisan politics, political preference, sex, religion or unduly firm opinion. Nonetheless, there must be a speech: Speeches in our culture are the vacuum that fills a vacuum.


But there is merit even in the mentally retarded legislator.

He asks the questions that everyone is afraid to ask for fear of seeming simple.


The masters thought they were loved until one day one of their favorites farted loudly while serving dinner and the next day was gone. The very first manifestation of the classless society is the disappearance of the servant class.


There is certainly no absolute standard of beauty. That precisely is what makes its pursuit so interesting.


Economics is extremely useful as a form of employment for economists.


The process by which banks create money is so simple that the mind is repelled.


More die in the United States of too much food than of too little.


Every corner of the public psyche is canvassed by some of the most talented citizens to see if the desire for some merchandisable product can be cultivated.


What is called a high standard of living consists, in considerable measure, in arrangements for avoiding muscular energy, for increasing sensual pleasure and enhancing caloric intake above any conceivable nutritional requirement.


About John Kenneth Galbraith

Quotes 393 sayings
Nationality American
Profession Economist
Birthday October 15, 1908

In the United States all business not transacted over the telephone is accomplished in conjunction with alcohol or food, often under conditions of advanced intoxication. This is a fact of the utmost importance for the visitor of limited funds... for it means that the most expensive restaurants are, with rare exceptions, the worst.


Simple minds, presumably, are the easiest to manage.


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.


No solution [to the problem of poverty] is so effective as providing income to the poor. Whether in the form of food, housing, health services, education or money, income is an excellent antidote for deprivation. No truth has spawned so much ingenious evasion.


All successful revolutions are the kicking in of a rotten door.


If wrinkles must be written upon our brows, let them not be written upon the heart. The spirit should never grow old.


The conventional view serves to protect us from the painful job of thinking.


The study of money, above all other fields in economics, is one in which complexity is used to disguise truth or to evade truth, not to reveal it. The process by which banks create money is so simple the mind is repelled.


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.


Economic theory is the most prestigious subject of instruction and study.

Agricultural economics, labor economics and marketing are lower caste fields of study.


More die in the United States from too much food that from too little.


In economics, the majority is always wrong.


The Metropolis should have been aborted long before it became New York, London or Tokyo.


In economics, hope and faith coexist with great scientific pretension and also a deep desire for respectability.


Power is not something that can be assumed or discarded at will like underwear.


Politics is not the art of the possible.

It consists in choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable.


People are the common denominator of progress; no improvement is possible with unimproved people.


Wisdom... is often an abstraction associated not with fact or reality but with the man who asserts it and the manner of its assertion.


In the United States, though power corrupts, the expectation of power paralyzes.


Do not be alarmed by simplification, complexity is often a device for claiming sophistication, or for evading simple truths.


A wrong decision isn't forever; it can always be reversed. The losses from a delayed decision are forever; they can never be retrieved.


Politics is the art of choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable.


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.


The conspicuously wealthy turn up urging the character building values of the privation of the poor.


Among all the world's races, some obscure Bedouin tribes possibly apart, Americans are the most prone to misinformation. This is not the consequence of any special preference for mendacity, although at the higher levels of their public administration that tendency is impressive. It is rather that so much of what they themselves believe is wrong.


In a community where public services have failed to keep abreast of private consumption things are very different. Here, in an atmosphere of private opulence and public squalor, the private goods have full sway.


Men have been swindled by other men on many occasions.

The autumn of 1929 was, perhaps, the first occasion when men succeeded on a large scale in swindling themselves.


The man who is admired for the ingenuity of his larceny is almost always rediscovering some earlier form of fraud. The basic forms are all known, have all been practiced. The manners of capitalism improve. The morals may not.


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.


Why is anything intrinsically so valueless so obviously desirable?


Modesty is a vastly overrated virtue.


The commencement speech is not, I think, a wholly satisfactory manifestation of our culture.


People of privilege will always risk their complete destruction rather than surrender any material part of their advantage.


The family which takes it mauve and cerise, air conditioned, power-steered, and power braked automobile out for a tour passes through cities that are badly paved, made hideous by litter, blighted buildings, billboards, and posts for wires that should long since have been put underground.


A person buying ordinary products in a supermarket is in touch with his deepest emotions.


There are times in politics when you must be on the right side and lose.


The spirit should never grow old.