Monday, Dec. 25, 2006

John Kenneth Galbraith

If Walter Bagehot was right to think that "one of the greatest pains to human nature is the pain of a new idea," then John Kenneth Galbraith caused a lot of pain in the world. He forced people to think and rethink about an astonishingly broad range of ideas. In analyzing the contrast between the private affluence of many and the public penury of all, or the special features of the new industrial state, and many other social issues, he led us toward a powerful understanding that raises questions about values and policies in a compelling way. An extraordinary human being, full of affection, humor, goodwill and creative insight, Galbraith was one of the great intellectuals of our time.

Sen is a Nobel-prizewinning professor of economics at Harvard