A liberal economist friend of ours, for convenience let us call him Mr. L, recently wrote us a letter about various current and prospective problems of the American economy, from which we quote the following passage: Galbraith's new book [The Affluent Society] provides a very good argument which you can use—probably already are using—for socialism. The danger of serious depression is slight, and the question of income distribution is no longer vital for the great majority of people. But the use we make of our resources is raising increasingly acute problems. As Galbraith points out, there is a strong bias in our system toward the production of private consumer goods, no matter how frivolous, and away from public services. I argue that we could solve the problem without socialism in the sense of public ownership; you, of course, argue that we could but we won't. I'm not sure that the difference is very important. The main thing is to convince people that we need a shift to the public sector. I don't think any of us can predict the paths by which we will get there.
This article can also be found at the Monthly Review website, where most recent articles are published in full.