What is surprising about these essays is not the insight and grace with which they are written--we have come to expect that--but the fact that nobody has expressed matters in quite this way before. John Kenneth Galbraith writes about what advice the poor nations (as, avoiding euphemism, he calls them) ought to offer to the more fortunate countries...In this little book there are essential lessons to ponder--for the governments of the rich countries, for those of the poor lands, and for the concerned citizens of both.
Buy Voice of the Poor book by John Kenneth Galbraith from Australia's Online Bookstore, Boomerang Books.
(210mm x 140mm x 8mm)
Harvard University Press
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Country of Publication:
US Kirkus Review »
Four brief essays adapted from the Rajaji Lectures which Galbraith, a former US ambassador to India, delivered in Bombay in early 1982 - specifying "advice which the old countries should be hearing from the new." A mere cover, the titular echo notwithstanding, for Galbraith's appeal to historical process. This, he contends, requires political and cultural development (stable government, universal education) to precede economic development: the advanced capitalist and socialist countries should therefore not apply economic designs "appropriate to their own late stage of development" to the new nations, "which are in earlier stages." Galbraith unlike others, is not just talking about appropriate technology - and he would shift aid from factories to schools. But he is also - academically? unrealistically? inappropriately? - asking the politically and culturally underdeveloped to catch up before building factories. A more genuine "accommodation to the realities of our time" is his call for both the US and the USSR to recognize that the new nations "reject domination by either of the great powers": nonintervention is not weakness; imperialism is dead. Similarly, nuclear conflict will shatter the advanced economies on both sides ("the ashes of capitalism will be indistinguishable. . .") - incidentally leveling rich and poor - while the current flow of advanced weaponry from rich to poor is "militarily irrelevant" and internally destabilizing. This last argument, which Galbraith caps by calling upon the poor to "reject the weapons," is at once visionary and clever and logically inconsistent: an appeal, against historical process, to "prove that the flow of wisdom is not associated with per capita income." The final, tangential essay - linked by reference to organizational changes - contains Galbraith's prescriptions for the ailing US economy (less monetarism, more fiscal policy, a wage/price policy). Lesser Galbraith, but not slight. (Kirkus Reviews)
» Have you read this book? We'd like to know what you think about it - write a review about Voice of the Poor book by John Kenneth Galbraith and you'll earn 50c in Boomerang Bucks loyalty dollars (you must be a member - it's free to sign up!)
Author Biography - John Kenneth Galbraith
John Kenneth Galbraith was Paul M. Warburg Professor of Economics, Emeritus, at Harvard University. James Goodman is Associate Professor of History at Rutgers University.