The Great Crash, 1929 published in 1954 is an economic history of the lead-up to the Wall Street Crash of 1929. The book argues that the 1929 stock market crash was precipitated by rampant speculation in the stock market, that the common denominator of all speculative episodes is the belief of participants that they can become rich without work and that the tendency towards recurrent speculative orgy serves no useful purpose, but rather is deeply damaging to an economy. It was Galbraith's belief that a good knowledge of what happened in 1929 was the best safeguard against its recurrence.
"[A] skilled analysis of that most memorable year in our economic history." (St. Louis Post-Dispatch )
"Most intriguing for its depiction of the delusion that swept the culture, and the ways financiers and bankers, wishful academics and supine regulators willfully ignored reality and in the process encouraged the epic collapse of the stock market." (New York Times )
"Paints a vivid picture of how the supposedly rational capitalist system seemed to lose its collective mind, and it has spooky parallels with what we are witnessing now." (Fortune )
John Kenneth Galbraith
John Kenneth "Ken" Galbraith (October 15, 1908 – April 29, 2006), OC was a Canadian-American economist. He was a Keynesian and an institutionalis, a leading proponent of 20th-century American liberalism. His books on economic topics were bestsellers from the 1950s through the 2000s and he filled the role of public intellectual from the '50s to the 1970s on matters of economics.
Galbraith was a prolific author who produced four dozen books and over a thousand articles on various subjects. Among his most famous works was a popular trilogy on economics, American Capitalism (1952), The Affluent Society (1958), and The New Industrial State (1967). He taught at Harvard University for many years. Galbraith was active in Democratic Party politics, serving in the administrations of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson; he served as United States Ambassador to India under Kennedy. Due to his prodigious literary output he was arguably the best known economist in the world during his lifetime and was one of a select few people to be awarded the Medal of Freedom, in 1946, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2000, for services to economics.