Michael Pascoe writes:

You can pick your Galbraith obituary according
to your prejudices. I’d go with the NY Times or The Guardian myself, as they are not so consumed with claiming JKG was proven wrong just
because giant American corporations have been shown to falter – there was much
more to the economist, academic, author, public servant, ambassador and thinker
than that.

I’d like to think that at tomorrow’s
Reserve Bank board lunch, at least one toast will be made to the great man. He
became unfashionable with the rise and rise of the Republicans and the slide of
Democrats, but within the RBA there are those who still value his insights.

And that’s something that those tipping
an interest rate rise should remember. The RBA mandarins are not so beholden to
economic fashions nor so removed from
the real world that Galbraith’s concern for human beings and a better society would be
lost on them. All other things being more or less equal, the RBA will go with
the people rather than with too austere a view of a tenth of a point on the CPI.

One of the nicer short obits is in The
Times
, because of the people it quotes – kind
words from the Governor of the Bank of England and the Chancellor of the
Exchequer. Said Gordon Brown:

John Kenneth Galbraith was a brilliant economist and writer and a
great friend of the United Kingdom, and his books will be
widely read in generations to come. Even in recent years in his nineties he was never slow to give me
and others advice and he will be remembered for his erudition, his wit and
eloquence, and particularly for his economic insights into our age.”

I haven’t spotted anything by our Peter
Costello yet. He might be too busy explaining how it costs more to fill your
car with fuel when petrol prices rise.

Peter Fray

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