Sat, 01 Aug 1998 18:13:27 +1000
Bryan Kavanagh (

At 10:31 PM 7/31/98 -0700, Chas wrote:

>As we say in academia, “to sociologists, Galbraith is an economist; to
>economists, Galbraith is a sociologist.”

I realise you’re partly joshing about Galbraith, Chas, but the snubbing attitude of some economists does exemplify the profession’s problems. In my opinion, it’s hidebound, is unduly suspicious of ideas affecting distribution, and runs the risk of disappearing up its own most exclusive fundamental orifice. (Are they sweeping enough rash generalisations? 🙂 )

I don’t know whether the following illustrates my point or not, but at the same time the University of Illinois was conducting a national conference on how to get butts on seats in the economic major on 25 October last year, I was delivering the Centenary Henry George Commemoration Address at the Melbourne Town Hall. The irony was not lost on me, because when I was invited to deliver a guest lecture on Henry George and Economic Depression to post-grad students at RMIT a couple of years ago, they couldn’t get enough of it. They stayed back well over an hour after the lecture to discuss George with me – and I can assure you it’s not because I am a ‘silver tongue’. These were grown-ups, and they were positively excited: “How come we’re at this stage of our studies and we haven’t heard of him?” one ventured. “You tell me”, I said.

While Marx or Galbraith are only a little on the nose in academic economics, with a few notable exceptions, the practical ideas of Henry George remain positively verboten.

So much for the intellectual rigour of universities.

– Bryan Kavanagh
To lift people out of poverty, all we have to
do is to let them keep more of what they earn.
>>>>>>> <<<<<<<

A (late-2022) postscript

I should mention that I’ve been heartened more recently by arrival on the scene of sturdily heterodox economists who’ve been challenging the neoclassical mindset. Interestingly, these include John Kenneth Galbraith’s son, James K Galbraith :-

“His (Ben Bernanke’s) lecture does not dwell on his own work. It is far more notable as an avatar of a much larger phenomenon, to wit the massive, stubborn, fiercely-defended and never-corrected ignorance of ‘mainstream’ economists on money, banking and finance.”

And ‘land’, James?