Economist John Kenneth Galbraith Dies

The influential Harvard professor, bestselling author, and adviser to U.S. presidents was 97.
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John Kenneth Galbraith, the influential Harvard economist, adviser to U.S. presidents and diplomat, died Saturday at age 97, according to media reports.

Galbraith died of natural causes at Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, Mass. two weeks after being admitted,

The Associated Press

reported.

A Keynesian and a liberal, Galbraith warned about the dangers of economic inequality and argued that government had a role to play in solving social problems. In perhaps his best known book,

The Affluent Society

(1958), Galbraith wrote that while the U.S. had amassed great private wealth, it had failed to properly invest in public infrastructure. Other notable books included

The Great Crash: 1929

and

American Capitalism: The Concept of Countervailing Power

. Although Galbraith's work had a significant impact on public debate, it also generated sharp criticism from conservatives, some of whom accused him of failing to back up his assertions with data.

Canadian-born Galbraith earned a B.S. from the University of Toronto in 1931, and an M.S. (1933) and Ph.D. (1934) from the University of California, according to a biography on Harvard University¿s Web site. He taught at the University of California and Princeton before taking a job at Harvard in 1948. He retired from Harvard in 1975.

Galbraith was extremely active in government, serving as deputy administrator in the Office of Price Administration in the early 1940s under President Roosevelt. In 1945 he was director of the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey. Later, he served as adviser to Presidents Johnson and Clinton and was John F. Kennedy¿s ambassador to India.