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The Affluent Society Revisited$
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Mike Berry

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199686506

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199686506.001.0001

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The Central Tradition

The Central Tradition

(p.13) 3 The Central Tradition
The Affluent Society Revisited

Mike Berry

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the early chapters of The Affluent Society dealing with the history of orthodox economics. Galbraith’s aim here was to establish the long tradition in which economists have focused on the central fact of scarcity and the associated need to escape its grip. Implicit in this tradition is the limited economic role for government. The general acceptance of Keynesian ideas in the years after World War II allows Galbraith to dismiss the overriding concern of economics with scarcity to re-focus on the pressing issues of affluence that form the substance of his book. This chapter then outlines the increasing attack on orthodox economics that has unwound over the past 50 years, the first shot of which can be said to have been fired by Galbraith and the final(?) dénouement unleashed by the global financial crisis in 2008.

Keywords:   Scarcity, neoclassical synthesis, stagflation, general equilibrium theory, new classical economics, real business cycle theory, post-Keynesian, ergodic axiom, behavioural economics, evolutionary economics

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