John Kenneth Galbraith Interview: Conversations with History; Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley

Intellectual Journey: Challenging the Conventional Wisdom; Conversation with John Kenneth Galbraith, 3/27/86 by Harry Kreisler

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Galbraith's Intellectual Legacy

One final question. What would you like, in your work, to be most remembered for? What contribution, either to ideas or to action, would you like to be remembered for?

Well, that's an appropriate question for an economist of mature years. I have to confess to my age when you ask me that question.

I suppose that I would, in economics, most like to be remembered -- and most plausibly will be remembered -- for bringing emphasis to an economic structure in which the characteristic organization is the great corporation rather than the competitive enterprise and of seeing economic life as a bipolar phenomenon, by which I mean, seeing it as a structure, on the one hand, of a few hundred great corporations, and seeing it, on the other hand, as the residual structure of agriculture, small business, the services. And arguing that the controlling economic behavior in the two parts is by no means the same. It has to be examined separately. I would hope that there might be some minor effect from that.

Professor Galbraith, thank you very much for coming back to Berkeley, for participating in this interview, and for sharing your views with us.

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