The Culture of Contentment

Overview

This book traces the course of America's current sense of contentment, stemming from the economic comfort achieved by the fortunate, politically dominant community during the Reagan-Bush era of the 1980s. Galbraith focuses on the results of this stasis, including short-term thinking and investment, government as a burden, and corporate sclerosis. The author also explores international issues, such as the parallels between the denial of trouble in Eastern Europe and problems unrecognized in America. This book is a...
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Overview

This book traces the course of America's current sense of contentment, stemming from the economic comfort achieved by the fortunate, politically dominant community during the Reagan-Bush era of the 1980s. Galbraith focuses on the results of this stasis, including short-term thinking and investment, government as a burden, and corporate sclerosis. The author also explores international issues, such as the parallels between the denial of trouble in Eastern Europe and problems unrecognized in America. This book is a groundbreaking assessment of the future of America.

A tireless observer of the particular oddities and larger movements of our time, Galbraith presents his arguments with the intelligence and acerbic wit his readers have come to expect. "In the decades since World War II, no American writer has done more to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable than John Kenneth Galbraith."--USA Today.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
This is Galbraith's analysis of the bind we Americans have put ourselves in since Reagan-Bush. His thesis is that we have become a ``culture of contentment'' wherein the majority of those who vote are socially and economically advantaged and will fight like tigers to maintain that advantage by voting against increased taxation that would reduce the federal deficit and respond to aching social problems. ``The result is government that is accommodated not to reality or common need but to the beliefs of the contented.'' ``Having enough, many wish for more.'' Greed has thus given us reduced income taxes for the rich, Michael Milken, the S&L scandal, a bloated military, etc. What is needed is a return to strong governmental regulation, reduced military spending, and a stringent progressive income tax. Nothing ``would so contribute to social tranquility as some screams of anguish from the very affluent'' that would provide more money to public education, welfare services, employment training, public housing, and libraries. ``The question . . . is not what can be done but what will be paid.'' Essential for all academic and public libraries. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 12/91 . -- Jeffrey R. Herold, Bucyrus P.L., Ohio
Booknews
A concise, contumacious critique of the complacent class that rules America in the interest of its own comfort, by distinguished economist Galbraith (emeritus, Harvard U.). Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780395669198
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 3/8/1993
  • Pages: 195
  • Product dimensions: 5.31 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.76 (d)

Meet the Author

John Kenneth Galbraith who was born in 1908, is the Paul M. Warburg Professor of Economics Emeritus at Harvard University and a past president of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He is the distinguished author of thirty-one books spanning three decades, including The Affluent Society, The Good Society, and The Great Crash. He has been awarded honorary degrees from Harvard, Oxford, the University of Paris, and Moscow University, and in 1997 he was inducted into the Order of Canada and received the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award for Lifetime Achievement. In 2000, at a White House ceremony, he was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
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Table of Contents

1 The Culture of Contentment 1
2 The Social Character of Contentment: An Overview 13
3 The Functional Underclass 30
4 Taxation and the Public Services: The Perverse Effect 42
5 The License for Financial Devastation 51
6 The Bureaucratic Syndrome 65
7 The Economic Accommodation, I 78
8 The Economic Accommodation, II 95
9 The Foreign Policy of Contentment: The Recreational and the Real 109
10 The Military Nexus, I 122
11 The Military Nexus, II 133
12 The Politics of Contentment 144
13 The Reckoning, I 154
14 The Reckoning, II 166
15 Requiem 174
Index 185
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