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The Culture of Contentment$
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John Kenneth Galbraith

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780691171654

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691171654.001.0001

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The Culture of Contentment

The Culture of Contentment

(p.1) Chapter 1 The Culture of Contentment
The Culture of Contentment

John Kenneth Galbraith

Princeton University Press

This book examines what it calls the political economy of contentment. It argues that the fortunate and the favored do not contemplate and respond to their own longer-run well-being. Rather, they respond to immediate comfort and contentment. In the so-called capitalist countries, the controlling contentment and resulting belief is now that of the many, not just of the few. It operates under the guise of democracy, albeit a democracy not of all citizens but of those who, in defense of their social and economic advantage, actually go to the polls. This chapter discusses how economic life undergoes a constant process of change, and, in consequence, the same action or event occurring at different times can lead to very different results. It considers some examples throughout history, such as the economic ideas of the Physiocrats in France, the fall of communism in Eastern Europe, and Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal.

Keywords:   contentment, democracy, social advantage, economic advantage, economic life, communism, Eastern Europe, Franklin D. Roosevelt, New Deal

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