08 May 2006

Even John Kenneth Galbraith

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In a letter to the Wall Street Journal, Mark Skousen notes that even Galbraith confessed recognizing the greater efficacy of freedom:

Mr. Henderson refers to one example where Galbraith changed his mind (about big business facing risk and competition). I can think of another: Which has helped the average person more — economic growth under free-market capitalism or redistribution of income via progressive taxation and the welfare state? In “The Affluent Society” (pp. 96-97), Galbraith wrote:

“Over the centuries those who have been blessed with wealth have developed many remarkably ingenious and persuasive justifications of their good fortune. The instinct of the liberal is to look at these explanations with a rather unyielding eye. Yet in this case the facts are inescapable. It is the increase in output in recent years, not the redistribution of income, which has brought the greatest material increase, the well-being of the average man. And, however suspiciously, the liberal has come to accept the fact.”

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