chapter  Thirteen
8 Pages

Her “Great Friend,” John Kenneth Galbraith

The close personal friendship between Joan Robinson and John Kenneth Galbraith stretched from a first acquaintance during Galbraith's year at Cambridge in 1937-38 until her death. With a background so different from Robinson's, Galbraith nevertheless arrived at opinions of the world and economics which were similar to hers. Galbraith's interests in economics were far from theirs, and their friendship was based more on politics than on economic theory. Galbraith believed that economics had become obsolescent by failing to take account of the absence of price competition, and his several works were directed toward reaching beyond the obstinate orthodoxy to a general public which might understand this point. This was part of what Robinson saw as a legacy of imperfect competition. Both Galbraith and Robinson shared a strong orientation toward what economists are fond of calling thereal world. Linked by such shared suspicions, talents, and beliefs, Galbraith and Robinson enjoyed a friendship of many years.