Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Galbraith question

I've seen this all over the place: “the conventional view serves to protect us from the painful job of thinking”. I was going to use it but can't find a citation to it. Does anyone know where he actually said this? Maybe it was spoken rather than written which is why sourcing it is so hard? Lots of people quote him on it but I can't find any citations yet.


  1. Google indicates it was John Kenneth Galbraith. But I didn't locate a detailed reference.

  2. Boy, does google find attributions to JKG--over 144,000 of them; I scrolled through 3 pages of links and none of them provided a source.

  3. I flipped through The Affluent Society, which has a chapter titled "The Concept of the Conventional Wisdom," and failed to find the quote. The book does contain a number of passages to the same effect, however.

    My bet is that the quote was originally a printed paraphrase of Galbraith that has since been misattributed as a direct quotation. On the other hand, JKG might have said it in The Age of Uncertainty or an interview.

    I emailed Quote Investigator ( to suggest that he research it.


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