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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 License for Financial Devastation

The License for Financial Devastation

(p.40) Chapter 5 The License for Financial Devastation
The Culture of Contentment

John Kenneth Galbraith

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the role of large corporations in financial devastation that has become especially severe in the years of contentment. Central to the economics of contentment is the general commitment to laissez faire. This is an attitude, the belief that it is in the nature of things, and especially of economic life, that all works out for the best in the end. However, there are forces under the broad and benign cover of laissez faire and the specific license of the market that ruin the very institutions comprising the system, such as the business firms. The chapter considers how large corporations contribute to financial devastation, focusing on the adverse effects of mergers and acquisitions. More specifically, it explores how mergers and acquisitions lead to self-destruction of the culture of contentment. It also discusses the savings and loan scandal of the 1980s as an exercise in financial devastation.

Keywords:   corporations, financial devastation, contentment, laissez faire, mergers, acquisitions, contentment, savings scandal, loan scandal

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