Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Economics

"We now know that anything which is economically right is also morally right; there can be no conflict between good economics and good morals." - Henry Ford

"The most creative job in the world. It involves taste, fashion, decorating, recreation, education, transportation, psychology, cuisine, designing, literature, medicine, handicraft, art, horticulture, economics, government, community relations, pediatrics, geriatrics, entertainment, maintenance, purchasing, direct mail, law, accounting, religion, energy, and management. Anyone who can handle all those has to be somebody special. She is. She’s a homemaker." - United Technologies Corporation NULL

"A land ethic for tomorrow should be as honest as Thoreau's Walden, and as comprehensive as the sensitive science of ecology. It should stress the oneness of our resources and the live-and-help-live logic of the great chain of life. If, in our haste to "progress," the economics of ecology are disregarded by citizens and policy makers alike, the result will be an ugly America." - Stewart Udall, Fully Stewart Lee Udall

"Protecting something as wide as this planet is still an abstraction for many. Yet I see the day in our own lifetimes that reverence for the natural systems - the oceans, the rain forests, the soil, the grasslands, and all other living beings - will be so strong that no narrow ideology based upon politics or economics will overcome it." - Jerry Brown

"Religion and art spring from the same root and are close kin. Economics and art are strangers." -

"The central event of the twentieth century is the overthrow of matter. In technology, economics, and the politics of nations, wealth in the form of physical resources is steadily declining in value and significance. The powers of mind are everywhere ascendant over the brute force of things." - George F Gilder

"Small is beautiful. A study of economics as if people mattered." -

"There are three basic types of human transactions: (1) the threat system – “Give it to me or I’ll kill you” or today’s more sophisticated version: “How much will you pay me to stop harming or annoying you?”… (2) the exchange system, the narrow waveband of market transactions with which economics concerns itself, and (3) the integrative system, i.e., the transactions based on the love, sharing, and altruism of which human beings are capable in spite of the denial of these phenomena in economic theory." - Kenneth Boulding, fully Kenneth Ewart Boulding

"Either for God or against God… Upon that choice hangs the fate of the world. In every department of life, in politics and economics, in the sciences and arts, in the State and in domestic life we follow God’s laws to peace or bypass them into chaos." -

"We now know that anything which is economically right is also morally right: there can be no conflict between good economics and good morals." - Henry Ford

"The most basic law of economics, namely that one cannot get something for nothing." - Roy F. Harrod, fully Sir Henry Roy Forbes Harrod

"The true problems of living – in politics, economics, education, marriage, etc. – are always problems of overcoming or reconciling opposites. They are divergent problems and have no solution in the ordinary sense of the word. They demand of man not merely the employment of his reasoning powers but the commitment of his whole personality." - E. F. Schumacher, fully Ernst Friedrich "Fritz" Schumacher

"Evolution is not necessarily a reductive theory: it does not explain away or reduce meaningfulness and value, any more than it explains away or reduces mathematics, economics, or even sociobiology itself. It aims to provide a naturalistic explanation of biological characteristics, including the capacities that enable us to recognize value and meaning. Giving a causal explanation of the origin of capacities is not the same as giving an account of the relevant meaning or content." - Garrett Thomson

"The teachings of economics say that anything in oversupply has no value; and one of the greatest things in oversupply has always been the simple opinion shared by others." - Nic Williams

"All social and political problems are interwoven – that energy, for example, affects economics, which in turn affects health, which in turn, affects education, work, family life, and a thousand other things. The attempt to deal with neatly defined problems in isolation from one another… creates only confusion and disaster." - Alvin Toffler

"A science of economics must be developed before a science of politics can be logically formulated. Essentially, economics is the science of determining whether the interests of human beings are harmonious or antagonistic. This must be known before a science of politics can be formulated to determine the proper functions of government." - Frédéric Bastiat, fully Claude Frédéric Bastiat

"Economics is our contemporary theology, regardless of how we spend Sunday." - James Hillman

"People of privilege will always risk their complete destruction rather than surrender any material part of their advantage... In economics, the majority is always wrong." - John Kenneth Galbraith, aka "Ken"

"Economics is not primarily an expository science; it also serves the controlling economic interest." - John Kenneth Galbraith, aka "Ken"

"In economics, as in anatomy, the whole is much more than the sum of the parts." - John Kenneth Galbraith, aka "Ken"

"History is taught with little regard to the ecology, the economics, the sociology or psychology - let alone the biology - that are necessary to understand human action. The same is true of all other academic subjects. Yet if we continue to teach physics separately from ethics, or molecular biology without concern for empathy, the chances of a monstrous evolutionary miscarriage are going to increase. To avoid these possibilities, it is imperative to begin thinking about a truly integrative, global education that takes seriously the actual interconnectedness of causes and effects." - Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, native form is Csíkszentmihályi Mihály

"Religion and art spring from the same root and are close kin. Economics and art are strangers." - Nathaniel Hawthorne

"Once demystified, the dismal science (of economics) is nothing less than the study of power." - Richard Barnet, fully Richard Jackson Barnet

"Centralized bigness breeds the regime of expertise, whether the big system is based on privatized or socialized economics." -

"One of the first laws against air pollution came in 1300 when King Edward I decreed the death penalty for burning of coal. At least one execution for that offense is recorded. But economics triumphed over health considerations, and air pollution became an appalling problem in England." - Glen Therodorei Seaborg

"It is my guiding confession that I believe the greatest error in economics is in seeing the economy as a stable, immutable structure." - John Kenneth Galbraith, aka "Ken"

"Foresight is an imperfect thing - all prevision in economics is imperfect." - John Kenneth Galbraith, aka "Ken"

"All cultures … have grown out of myths. They are founded on myths. What these myths have given has been inspiration for aspiration. The economic interpretation of history is for the birds. Economics is itself a function of aspiration. It’s what people aspire to that creates the field in which economics works." - Joseph Campbell

"The supremacy of public opinion determines not only the singular role that economics occupies in the complex of thought and knowledge. It determines the whole process of human history." - Ludwig von Mises, fully Ludwig Heinrich Edler von Mises

"As used in economics the term "capital" would be defined as follows: Capital refers to resources withheld from immediate consumption in the expectation of greater future returns. However controversial a topic this has been, capital has been the main–if not the only–way of achieving progress, even in voilently anticapitalist, socialist countries. A dam, a hospital, a university, a cathedral, or a national park cannot be built without using up resources that would be easier to consume immediately, and none of them would be built at all unless they were believed to provide some greater returns in the future." - Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, native form is Csíkszentmihályi Mihály

"In this age of specialization, I sometimes think of myself as the last 'generalist' in economics, with interests that range from mathematical economics down to current financial journalism. My real interests are research and teaching." - Paul Samuelson, fully Paul Anthony Samuelson

"In the last 40 or 50 years, economics was dominant. In the next 20 or 30 years, social issues will be dominant." - Peter F. Drucker, fully Peter Ferdinand Drucker

"Sensate culture, has these features: The defining cultural principle is that true reality is sensory – only the material world is real. There is no other reality or source of values. This becomes the ubiquitous organizing principle of society. It permeates every aspect of culture and defines the basic mentality. People are unable to think in any other terms. Sensate culture pursues science and technology, but dedicates little creative thought to spirituality or religion. Dominant values are wealth, health, bodily comfort, sensual pleasures, power and fame. Ethics, politics, and economics are utilitarian and hedonistic. All ethical and legal precepts are considered mere man-made conventions, relative and changeable. Art and entertainment emphasize sensory stimulation. In the decadent stages of Sensate culture there is a frenzied emphasis on the new and the shocking (literally, sensationalism). Religious institutions are mere relics of previous epochs, stripped of their original substance, and tending to fundamentalism and exaggerated fideism (the view that faith is not compatible with reason)." - Pitirim A. Sorokin, fully Pitirim Alexandrovich (Alexander) Sorokin

"Ideational culture, has these characteristics: The defining principle is that true reality is supersensory, transcendent, spiritual. The material world is variously: an illusion (maya), temporary, passing away (“stranger in a strange land”), sinful, or a mere shadow an eternal transcendent reality. Religion often tends to asceticism, or attempts at zealous social reform. Mysticism and revelation are considered valid sources of truth and morality. Science and technology are comparatively de-emphasized... Economics is conditioned by religious and moral commandments (e.g., laws against usury). Innovation in theology, metaphysics, and supersensory philosophies. Flourishing of religious and spiritual art (e.g., Gothic cathedrals)" - Pitirim A. Sorokin, fully Pitirim Alexandrovich (Alexander) Sorokin

"Since I was a law student, I have been against the death penalty. It does not deter. It is severely discriminatory against minorities, especially since they're given no competent legal counsel defense in many cases. It's a system that has to be perfect. You cannot execute one innocent person. No system is perfect. And to top it off, for those of you who are interested in the economics it, it costs more to pursue a capital case toward execution than it does to have full life imprisonment without parole." - Ralph Nader

"The world, and everyone in it is subject to environmental limits. Conventional economics believes that these limits are not there and anything can be substituted if the price is right. Acclaimed environmentalist Richard Heinberg disagrees. He thinks we have reached the end of two centuries of frenetic growth powered by fossil fuels. The current financial crisis is one of the symptoms of a system that is being wrecked, not just by debt but resource depletion and environmental devastation. [Central assertion of his book, "The End of Growth: Adapting to Our New Economic Reality"" - Richard Heinberg

"Why should it be that it's perfectly legitimate to support the Labor party or the Conservative party, Republicans or Democrats, this model of economics versus that, Macintosh instead of Windows - but to have an opinion about how the Universe began, about who created the Universe ... no, that's holy? ... We are used to not challenging religious ideas but it's very interesting how much of a furore Richard (Dawkins) creates when he does it! Everybody gets absolutely frantic about it because you're not allowed to say these things. Yet when you look at it rationally there is no reason why those ideas shouldn't be as open to debate as any other, except that we have agreed somehow between us that they shouldn't be." - Richard Dawkins

"Conventional economics starts with certain basic premises that are clearly, unequivocally incorrect: that the environment is a subset of the economy; that resources are infinitely substitutable; and that growth in population and consumption can continue forever. In conventional economics, natural resources like fossil fuels are treated as expendable income, when in fact they should be treated as capital, since they are subject to depletion. As many alternative economists have pointed out, if economics is to stop steering society into the ditch it has to start by reexamining these assumptions." - Richard Heinberg

"The following four fundamental principles must be established at the core of economic theory if economics is to have any relevance in the future: " - Richard Heinberg

"Mathematics has given economics rigor, but alas, also mortis." - Robert Heilbroner, fully Robert Louis Heilbroner

"Wildness we might consider as the root of the authentic spontaneities of any being. It is that wellspring of creativity whence comes the instinctive activities that enable all living beings to obtain their food, to find shelter, to bring forth their young: to sing and dance and fly through the air and swim through the depths of the sea. This is the same inner tendency that evokes the insight of the poet, the skill of the artist and the power of the shaman." - Thomas Berry

"Faith is a light of such supreme brilliance that it dazzles the mind and darkens all its visions of other realities, but in the end when we become used to the new light, we gain a new view of all reality transfigured and elevated in the light itself." - Thomas Merton

"Religion is different from everything else; because in religion seeking is finding." - Willa Cather, fully Willa Sibert Cather

"Even if certain sacrifices have to be made as regards immediate and measurable profit­ableness and technical practicability, it must neverthe­less be stressed that this sacrifice will be repaid in a wider, social sense and may in the long run even redound to the advantage of the enterprise itself. If we take into consideration all the sociological consequences of proletarization, we are...entitled to the conclusion that in certain circum­stances the mechanical organiza­tion of industrial plants which permits the cheapest form of production on the basis of measurable costs, may in the end prove to be the most expensive for society as a whole." - Wilhelm Röepke

"Can we actually suppose that we are wasting, polluting, and making ugly this beautiful land for the sake of patriotism and the love of God? Perhaps some of us would like to think so, but in fact this destruction is taking place because we have allowed ourselves to believe, and to live, a mated pair of economic lies: that nothing has a value that is not assigned to it by the market; and that the economic life of our communities can safely be handed over to the great corporations." - Wendell Berry

"He was appalled by the examination system, when it was explained to him, he could not imagine a greater deterrent to the natural wish to learn than this pattern of cramming in information and disgorging it on demand." - Ursula Le Guin, fully Ursula Kroeber Le Guin

"We cannot meet it the threat of dictatorship if we turn this country into a wishy-washy imitation of totalitarianism, where every man’s hand is out for pabulum and virile creativeness has given place to the patronizing favor of swollen bureaucracy." - Vannevar Bush

"Leo Tolstoy, the greatest anti-patriot of our time, defines patriotism as the principle that will justify the training of wholesale murderers; a trade that requires better equipment in the exercise of man-killing than the making of such necessities as shoes, clothing, and houses; a trade that guarantees better returns and greater glory than that of the honest workingman." - Emma Goldman

"Remember everything is right until it's wrong. You'll know when it's wrong." - Ernest Hemingway, fully Ernest Miller Hemingway

"Economists themselves, like most specialists, normally suffer from a kind of metaphysical blindness, assuming that theirs is a science of absolute and invariable truths, without any presuppositions." - E. F. Schumacher, fully Ernst Friedrich "Fritz" Schumacher