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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 Reckoning, I

The Reckoning, I

(p.120) Chapter 13 The Reckoning, I
The Culture of Contentment

John Kenneth Galbraith

Princeton University Press

This chapter explores the larger consequences of contentment. The United States now has a democracy of the contented and the comfortable, who monopolize or largely monopolize the political franchise. In contrast, the uncomfortable and the distressed of the poor urban and rural slums and those who identify with their bad fortune do not vote because they have no candidates that will represent their needs. The chapter first considers the self-corrective capacity of democracy as it relates to the culture of contentment before discussing how the short-run economic policies of contentment, protected by the accommodation of economics to comfort, could bring eventual economic discomfort. It also looks at inflation as a threat to the culture of contentment and the ways that a severe recession or depression could change the political economy of contentment.

Keywords:   democracy, poor, contentment, economic policies, economic discomfort, inflation, recession, depression, political economy

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