Sunday, April 30, 2006

John Kenneth Galbraith (1908-2006)

John Kenneth Galbraith, described in a Boston Globe obituary as "a towering figure in American intellectual life whose astringent wit and elegant iconoclasm graced the academic and political scene for seven decades," has died at the age of 97.

Galbraith was an economist who wrote bestsellers, dabbled in politics, and advised presidents from FDR to Clinton. Under President Kennedy, he served as the United States ambassador to India.

In 1989, Galbraith said (with his customary flair), "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." It is excellent advice.