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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 Ambiguities of Production

The Ambiguities of Production

(p.77) 6 The Ambiguities of Production
The Affluent Society Revisited

Mike Berry

Oxford University Press

Galbraith located the paradoxically persisting concern for ‘the paramount position of production’ in societies enjoying increasing affluence in the role economic growth plays in resolving the age-old problems of scarcity and the associated scourges of inequality and insecurity. In addition, he claims, the fixation on maximizing growth is supported by the entrenched vested interests of business executives and others who would claim the social esteem that comes with occupation of the commanding heights of society. The latter include intellectuals and, surprisingly, liberals seduced by the arguments linking security and equality to continued growth in material output. Galbraith expected the continued march of facts to undercut the grip of vested interests in production; instead I argue that developments since the 1970s have (until very recent times) reinforced both those and other interests and the central tradition legitimating their reach.

Keywords:   Growth, production, vested interests, innovation, environment

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