His influence was almost entirely negative. Observes Pete Boettke at The Austrian Economists,
his core ideas are either restated Veblen, warmed over Keynes, or Marxist platitudes. It is not clear that any of his ideas are original enough to warrant that he be placed in that company of critics of the market economy. But there can be little doubt that between 1950-1970, he perhaps more than anyone popularized the teachings of Marx, Veblen and Keynes and made them acceptable to generations of Harvard students and members of the intelligentsia in the English speaking world.Galbraith's best and worst began during and after World War II. At the wartime Office of Price Administration he received his first taste of economy-wide meddling; he liked it. At the same time he was not unafraid to challenge conventional wisdom -- something seen thoughout his career, and a phrase he himself coined; his unorthodoxy and innate intelligence combined to help produce the post-war 'United States Strategic Bombing Survey' which analysed the efficacy of the wartime long-range strategic bombing, and found its success vastly over-rated, a conclusion unwelcome to US Air Force strategists. Galbraith remarked at the time to Orvil Anderson, deputy chief of the Army Air Force in Europe, "General, this is just a matter of intellectual honesty." The general replied, "Goddamn it, Ken, you carry intellectual honesty to extremes."
The Wall Street Journal has a summary of bloggers' obits for Galbraith. William Anderson from the Mises Institute promises a "respectful, but truthful" obit shortly on behalf of Galbraith's Austrian adversaries.
LINKS: John Kenneth Galbraith, writer, economist dies - Boston Globe
Bloggers debate Galbraith's legacy - Wall Street Journal
Would you rather be known as politically influential, famous among the intellectual elite, or making a lasting scientific contribution? - The Austrian Economists
TAGS: Economics, History-Twentieth_Century, Obituary