The Economics of Innocent Fraud: Truth For Our Time

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Apr 26, 2004 - Business & Economics - 80 pages
6 Reviews
John Kenneth Galbraith has long been at the center of American economics, in key positions of responsibility during the New Deal, World War II, and since, guiding policy and debate. His trenchant new book distills this lifetime of experience in the public and private sectors; it is a scathing critique of matters as they stand today.
Sounding the alarm about the increasing gap between reality and "conventional wisdom" -- a phrase he coined -- Galbraith tells, along with much else, how we have reached a point where the private sector has unprecedented control over the public sector. We have given ourselves over to self-serving belief and "contrived nonsense" or, more simply, fraud. This has come at the expense of the economy, effective government, and the business world.
Particularly noted is the central power of the corporation and the shift in authority from shareholders and board members to management. In an intense exercise of fraud, the pretense of shareholder power is still maintained, even with the immediate participants. In fact, because of the scale and complexity of the modern corporation, decisive power must go to management. From management and its own inevitable self-interest, power extends deeply into government -- the so-called public sector. This is particularly and dangerously the case in such matters as military policy, the environment, and, needless to say, taxation. Nevertheless, there remains the firm reference to the public sector.
How can fraud be innocent? In his inimitable style, Galbraith offers the answer. His taut, wry, and severe comment is essential reading for everyone who cares about America's future. This book is especially relevant in an election year, but it deeply concerns the much longer future.

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User Review  - tdh70 - LibraryThing

John Kenneth Galbraith was a brilliant economist and a sprightly writer with a dry with that made his writings about the dismal science a delight to read. Unfortunately he has aged, and his style has ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - jorgearanda - LibraryThing

In this very short book, Galbraith runs through a list of "innocent frauds" perpetrated by our sociopolitical system on a routine basis, from the rebranding of capitalism as a "market system" to the illusion of the division between public and private enterprise. Read full review


I The Nature of Innocent Fraud
II The Renaming of the System
III The Economics of Accommodation
IV The Specious World of Work
V The Corporation as Bureaucracy
VI The Corporate Power
VII The Myth of the Two Sectors
VIII The World of Finance
IX The Elegant Escape from Reality
X The End to Corporate Innocence
XI Foreign and Military Policy
XII The Last Word
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About the author (2004)

John Kenneth Galbraith (1908-2006) was a critically acclaimed author and one of America's foremost economists. His most famous works include The Affluent Society, The Good Society, and The Great Crash. Galbraith was the receipient of the Order of Canada and the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award for Lifetime Achievement, and he was twice awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

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