FT columnist Stefan Stern says that academia's reaction to the death of John Kenneth Galbraith--silence, tumbleweeds--is mostly schadenfreude about Galbraith's commercial success:
Galbraith committed the most serious crime an academic can ever perpetrate: he became popular. His books sold in their millions and he was read and respected all over the world. But his death has been met by a curiously muted response, especially from his fellow economists. He was not really a proper academic economist, some have argued. He did not use or understand models... A professor at the London School of Economics, Lord Meghnad Desai, declared on the BBC that no one reads Galbraith any more, and nor should they: most of his ideas had been proved entirely wrong.
And we understand their gripe. What, between the Pepsi commercials, the walk-on parts on Entourage, the dating Lindsay Lohan and the quickie Random House primer on class warfare post-Katrina, were not sure how Galbraith managed to retain any intellectual credibility at all.
Out with the Cult of the New [FT]