Famous Economists Quotes

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For economists, Argentina is a perplexing country. To illustrate how difficult it was to understand Argentina, the Nobel Prize–winning economist Simon Kuznets once famously remarked that there were four sorts of countries: developed, underdeveloped, Japan, and Argentina.
Daron Acemoğlu (Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty)
There’s a famous and often-told story about the great economist John Maynard Keynes: once, when accused of having flip-flopped on some policy issue, Keynes acerbically replied, “When the facts change, sir, I change my mind. What do you do?
Alan Jacobs (How To Think: A Guide for the Perplexed)
As economist Joseph Schumpeter famously observed, originality is an act of creative destruction. Advocating for new systems often requires demolishing the old way of doing things, and we hold back for fear of rocking the boat.
Adam M. Grant (Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World)
These exuberant proclamations of equalitarianism in sundown towns exemplify not only base hypocrisy but also what sociologists call "herrenvolk democracy" -- democracy for the master race. White Americans' verbal commitment to nondiscrimination forms one horn of what Swedish economist Gunnar Myrdal famously called "The American Dilemma." Blatant racism forms the other horn. In elite sundown suburbs, this dilemma underlies what we shall later term the "paradox of exclusivity.
James W. Loewen (Sundown Towns: A Hidden Dimension of American Racism)
Virginia Woolf wrote famously, “About December 1910 human nature changed.” Well, one doubts it. What did change, and has been changing all through the closing decades of the 19th century, is that the intelligentsia became increasingly alienated from the bourgeois world from which it sprung, and wished to become something Higher. It wished to make novels difficult and technical – think of Woolf or Joyce – to keep them out of the hands of the uneducated and to elevate the intelligentsia to a new clerisy, a new aristocracy of the spirit. Similarly in painting, music, and philosophy. It wished to make everything difficult and technical, and it succeeded. [Economists Lawrence] Klein, [Paul] Samuelson, and [Jan] Tinbergen were middle-period modernists. The vices of modernism come from the master vice of Pride, the vice so characteristic of an actual or wannabe aristocracy. It is prideful overreaching to think that social engineering can work, that a smart lad at a blackboard can outwit the wisdom of the world or the ages, that a piece of machinery like statistical significance can tell you how big or small a number is.
Deirdre Nansen McCloskey
When the facts change, I change my mind,” the economist John Maynard Keynes famously said. “What do you do, sir?
Nate Silver (The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail-but Some Don't)
President Truman famously asked for a “one-armed economist” who would take a clear stand; he was sick and tired of economists who kept saying, “On the other hand …
Daniel Kahneman (Thinking, Fast and Slow)
President Harry S. Truman is said to have famously asked for a one-handed economist, noting that “all my economists say, on the one hand and on the other.
Greg Ip (The Little Book of Economics: How the Economy Works in the Real World (Little Books. Big Profits))
Sometime during the 1960s, the Nobel laureate economist Milton Friedman was consulting with the government of a developing Asian nation. Friedman was taken to a large-scale public works project, where he was surprised to see large numbers of workers wielding shovels, but very few bulldozers, tractors, or other heavy earth-moving equipment. When asked about this, the government official in charge explained that the project was intended as a “jobs program.” Friedman’s caustic reply has become famous: “So then, why not give the workers spoons instead of shovels?” Friedman
Martin Ford (The Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of Mass Unemployment)
The wide confidence interval is a confession of ignorance, which is not socially acceptable for someone who is paid to be knowledgeable in financial matters. Even if they knew how little they know, the executives would be penalized for admitting it. President Truman famously asked for a “one-armed economist” who would take a clear stand; he was sick and tired of economists who kept saying, “On the other hand…
Daniel Kahneman (Thinking, Fast and Slow)
The great irony, then, is that the nation’s most famous modern conservative economist became the father of Big Government, chronic deficits, and national fiscal bankruptcy. It was Friedman who first urged the removal of the Bretton Woods gold standard restraints on central bank money printing, and then added insult to injury by giving conservative sanction to perpetual open market purchases of government debt by the Fed. Friedman’s monetarism thereby institutionalized a régime which allowed politicians to chronically spend without taxing. Likewise, it was the free market professor of the Chicago school who also blessed the fundamental Keynesian proposition that Washington must continuously manage and stimulate the national economy. To be sure, Friedman’s “freshwater” proposition, in Paul Krugman’s famous paradigm, was far more modest than the vast “fine-tuning” pretensions of his “salt-water” rivals. The saltwater Keynesians of the 1960s proposed to stimulate the economy until the last billion dollars of potential GDP was realized; that is, they would achieve prosperity by causing the state to do anything that was needed through a multiplicity of fiscal interventions. By contrast, the freshwater Keynesian, Milton Friedman, thought that capitalism could take care of itself as long as it had precisely the right quantity of money at all times; that is, Friedman would attain prosperity by causing the state to do the one thing that was needed through the single spigot of M1 growth.
David A. Stockman (The Great Deformation: The Corruption of Capitalism in America)
The demographic ageing of Europe and other leading industrial countries is multiplied by the economic burden of immigration. For the time being, we can still hold out, but this will not last. The lack of active workers, the burden of retirees and the expenses of healthcare will end, from 2005-2010, with burdening European economies with debt. Gains in productivity and technological advances (the famous ‘primitive accumulation of fixed capital’, the economists’ magic cure) will never be able to match the external demographic costs. Lastly, far from compensating for the losses of the working-age native-born population, the colonising immigration Europe is experiencing involves first of all welfare recipients and unskilled workers. In addition, this immigration represents a growing expense (insecurity, the criminal economy, urban policies, etc.). An economic collapse of Europe, the world’s leading commercial power, would drag down with it the United States and the entire Western economy.
Guillaume Faye (Convergence of Catastrophes)
THE FOUNDING PROPHET of modern antihumanism was Thomas Malthus (1766–1834). For three decades a professor at the British East India Company’s East India College, Malthus was a political economist who famously argued that human reproduction always outruns available resources. This doctrine served to rationalize the starvation of millions caused by his employer’s policy of brutal oppression of the peasants of the Indian subcontinent. The British Empire’s colonial helots, however, were not Malthus’s only targets. Rather, his Essay on the Principle of Population (first published in 1798 and later expanded in numerous further editions) was initially penned as a direct attack on such Enlightenment revolutionaries as William Godwin and the Marquis de Condorcet, who advanced the notion that human liberty, expanding knowledge, and technological progress could ultimately make possible a decent life for all mankind. Malthus prescribed specific policies to keep population down by raising the death rate:
Robert Zubrin (Merchants of Despair: Radical Environmentalists, Criminal Pseudo-Scientists, and the Fatal Cult of Antihumanism)
Economists have always been haunted by the spectre of ‘diminishing returns’. Ricardo had famously seen ‘diminishing returns’ in agriculture leading to a progressive fall in the rate of profit, a progressive shift of the terms of trade between manufacturing and agriculture in favour of the latter and the eventual denouement of a stationary state where further growth became impossible. Even Keynes in the aforementioned work saw ‘diminishing returns’ in food production as undermining the Eldorado even if the war had not done so. And yet none of these fears have come true. The terms of trade between manufacturing and agriculture have shown a secular tendency to shift against, rather than in favour of, the latter; and while the growth rate under capitalism has come down of late, this has nothing to do with any fall in the profit rate caused by ‘diminishing returns’. Likewise, the advanced capitalist world has no difficulty to this day in meeting its food requirements, belying the fears of Keynes. How then do we explain this contrast between fears and reality?
Prabhat Patnaik (The Veins of the South Are Still Open: Debates Around the Imperialism of Our Time)
Political economist and sociologist Max Weber famously spoke of the “disenchantment of the world,” as rationalization and science led Europe and America into modern industrial society, pushing back religion and all “magical” theories about reality. Now we are witnessing the disenchantment of the self. One of the many dangers in this process is that if we remove the magic from our image of ourselves, we may also remove it from our image of others. We could become disenchanted with one another. Our image of Homo sapiens underlies our everyday practice and culture; it shapes the way we treat one another as well as how we subjectively experience ourselves. In Western societies, the Judeo-Christian image of humankind—whether you are a believer or not—has secured a minimal moral consensus in everyday life. It has been a major factor in social cohesion. Now that the neurosciences have irrevocably dissolved the Judeo-Christian image of a human being as containing an immortal spark of the divine, we are beginning to realize that they have not substituted anything that could hold society together and provide a common ground for shared moral intuitions and values. An anthropological and ethical vacuum may well follow on the heels of neuroscientific findings. This is a dangerous situation. One potential scenario is that long before neuroscientists and philosophers have settled any of the perennial issues—for example, the nature of the self, the freedom of the will, the relationship between mind and brain, or what makes a person a person—a vulgar materialism might take hold. More and more people will start telling themselves: “I don’t understand what all these neuroexperts and consciousness philosophers are talking about, but the upshot seems pretty clear to me. The cat is out of the bag: We are gene-copying bio- robots, living out here on a lonely planet in a cold and empty physical universe. We have brains but no immortal souls, and after seventy years or so the curtain drops. There will never be an afterlife, or any kind of reward or punishment for anyone, and ultimately everyone is alone. I get the message, and you had better believe I will adjust my behavior to it. It would probably be smart not to let anybody know I’ve seen through the game.
Thomas Metzinger
The most famous illustration of what happens to those who question the orthodoxy is what befell economist Larry Summers. On January 14, 2005, Summers, then president of Harvard University, spoke to a conference on diversifying the science and engineering workforce.16 In his informal remarks, responding to the sponsors’ encouragement to speculate, he offered reasons for thinking that innate differences in men and women might account for some of the underrepresentation of women in science and engineering. He spoke undogmatically and collegially, talking about possibilities, phrasing his speculations moderately. And all hell broke loose. An MIT biologist, Nancy Hopkins, told reporters that she “felt I was going to be sick,” that “my heart was pounding and my breath was shallow,” and that she had to leave the room because otherwise “I would’ve either blacked out or thrown up.”17 Within a few days, Summers had been excoriated by the chairperson of Harvard’s sociology department, Mary C. Waters, and received a harshly critical letter from Harvard’s committee on faculty recruiting. One hundred and twenty Harvard professors endorsed the letter. Some alumnae announced that they would suspend donations.18 Summers retracted his remarks, with, in journalist Stuart Taylor Jr.’s words, “groveling, Soviet-show-trial-style apologies.
Charles Murray (Human Diversity: The Biology of Gender, Race, and Class)
Example: a famous-to-economists finding in behavioral economics concerns pricing, and the fact that people have a provable bias towards the middle of three prices. It was first demonstrated with an experiment in beer pricing: when there were two beers, a third of people chose the cheaper; adding an even cheaper beer made the share of that beer go up, because it was now in the middle of three prices; adding an even more expensive beer at the top, and dropping the cheapest beer, made the share of the new beer in the middle (which had previously been the most expensive) go up from two-thirds to 90 percent. Having a price above and a price below makes the price in the middle seem more appealing. This experiment has been repeated with other consumer goods, such as ovens, and is now a much-used strategy in the corporate world. Basically, if you have two prices for something, and want to make more people pay the higher price, you add a third, even higher price; that makes the formerly highest price more attractive. Watch out for this strategy. (The research paper about beer pricing, written by a trio of economists at Duke University in 1982, was published in the Journal of Consumer Research. It’s called “Adding Asymetrically Dominated Alternatives: Violations of Regularity and the Simularity Hypothesis”—which must surely be the least engaging title ever given to an article about beer.)
John Lanchester (How to Speak Money: What the Money People Say-And What It Really Means: What the Money People Say―And What It Really Means)
Westerners, not just Lincoln Steffens. It took in the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States. It even took in the Soviet Union’s own leaders, such as Nikita Khrushchev, who famously boasted in a speech to Western diplomats in 1956 that “we will bury you [the West].” As late as 1977, a leading academic textbook by an English economist argued that Soviet-style economies were superior to capitalist ones in terms of economic growth, providing full employment and price stability and even in producing people with altruistic motivation. Poor old Western capitalism did better only at providing political freedom. Indeed, the most widely used university textbook in economics, written by Nobel Prize–winner Paul Samuelson, repeatedly predicted the coming economic dominance of the Soviet Union. In the 1961 edition, Samuelson predicted that Soviet national income would overtake that of the United States possibly by 1984, but probably by 1997. In the 1980 edition there was little change in the analysis, though the two dates were delayed to 2002 and 2012. Though the policies of Stalin and subsequent Soviet leaders could produce rapid economic growth, they could not do so in a sustained way. By the 1970s, economic growth had all but stopped. The most important lesson is that extractive institutions cannot generate sustained technological change for two reasons: the lack of economic incentives and resistance by the elites. In addition, once all the very inefficiently used resources had been reallocated to industry, there were few economic gains to be had by fiat. Then the Soviet system hit a roadblock, with lack of innovation and poor economic incentives preventing any further progress. The only area in which the Soviets did manage to sustain some innovation was through enormous efforts in military and aerospace technology. As a result they managed to put the first dog, Leika, and the first man, Yuri Gagarin, in space. They also left the world the AK-47 as one of their legacies. Gosplan was the supposedly all-powerful planning agency in charge of the central planning of the Soviet economy. One of the benefits of the sequence of five-year plans written and administered by Gosplan was supposed to have been the long time horizon necessary for rational investment and innovation. In reality, what got implemented in Soviet industry had little to do with the five-year plans, which were frequently revised and rewritten or simply ignored. The development of industry took place on the basis of commands by Stalin and the Politburo, who changed their minds frequently and often completely revised their previous decisions. All plans were labeled “draft” or “preliminary.” Only one copy of a plan labeled “final”—that for light industry in 1939—has ever come to light. Stalin himself said in 1937 that “only bureaucrats can think that planning work ends with the creation of the plan. The creation of the plan is just the beginning. The real direction of the plan develops only after the putting together of the plan.” Stalin wanted to maximize his discretion to reward people or groups who were politically loyal, and punish those who were not. As for Gosplan, its main role was to provide Stalin with information so he could better monitor his friends and enemies. It actually tried to avoid making decisions. If you made a decision that turned
Daron Acemoğlu (Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity and Poverty)
gave up on the idea of creating “socialist men and women” who would work without monetary incentives. In a famous speech he criticized “equality mongering,” and thereafter not only did different jobs get paid different wages but also a bonus system was introduced. It is instructive to understand how this worked. Typically a firm under central planning had to meet an output target set under the plan, though such plans were often renegotiated and changed. From the 1930s, workers were paid bonuses if the output levels were attained. These could be quite high—for instance, as much as 37 percent of the wage for management or senior engineers. But paying such bonuses created all sorts of disincentives to technological change. For one thing, innovation, which took resources away from current production, risked the output targets not being met and the bonuses not being paid. For another, output targets were usually based on previous production levels. This created a huge incentive never to expand output, since this only meant having to produce more in the future, since future targets would be “ratcheted up.” Underachievement was always the best way to meet targets and get the bonus. The fact that bonuses were paid monthly also kept everyone focused on the present, while innovation is about making sacrifices today in order to have more tomorrow. Even when bonuses and incentives were effective in changing behavior, they often created other problems. Central planning was just not good at replacing what the great eighteenth-century economist Adam Smith called the “invisible hand” of the market. When the plan was formulated in tons of steel sheet, the sheet was made too heavy. When it was formulated in terms of area of steel sheet, the sheet was made too thin. When the plan for chandeliers was made in tons, they were so heavy, they could hardly hang from ceilings. By the 1940s, the leaders of the Soviet Union, even if not their admirers in the West, were well aware of these perverse incentives. The Soviet leaders acted as if they were due to technical problems, which could be fixed. For example, they moved away from paying bonuses based on output targets to allowing firms to set aside portions of profits to pay bonuses. But a “profit motive” was no more encouraging to innovation than one based on output targets. The system of prices used to calculate profits was almost completely unconnected to the value of new innovations or technology. Unlike in a market economy, prices in the Soviet Union were set by the government, and thus bore little relation to value. To more specifically create incentives for innovation, the Soviet Union introduced explicit innovation bonuses in 1946. As early as 1918, the principle had been recognized that an innovator should receive monetary rewards for his innovation, but the rewards set were small and unrelated to the value of the new technology. This changed only in 1956, when it was stipulated that the bonus should be proportional to the productivity of the innovation. However, since productivity was calculated in terms of economic benefits measured using the existing system of prices, this was again not much of an incentive to innovate. One could fill many pages with examples of the perverse incentives these schemes generated. For example, because the size of the innovation bonus fund was limited by the wage bill of a firm, this immediately reduced the incentive to produce or adopt any innovation that might have economized on labor.
Daron Acemoğlu (Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity and Poverty)
Growth was so rapid that it took in generations of Westerners, not just Lincoln Steffens. It took in the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States. It even took in the Soviet Union’s own leaders, such as Nikita Khrushchev, who famously boasted in a speech to Western diplomats in 1956 that “we will bury you [the West].” As late as 1977, a leading academic textbook by an English economist argued that Soviet-style economies were superior to capitalist ones in terms of economic growth, providing full employment and price stability and even in producing people with altruistic motivation. Poor old Western capitalism did better only at providing political freedom. Indeed, the most widely used university textbook in economics, written by Nobel Prize–winner Paul Samuelson, repeatedly predicted the coming economic dominance of the Soviet Union. In the 1961 edition, Samuelson predicted that Soviet national income would overtake that of the United States possibly by 1984, but probably by 1997. In the 1980 edition there was little change in the analysis, though the two dates were delayed to 2002 and 2012. Though the policies of Stalin and subsequent Soviet leaders could produce rapid economic growth, they could not do so in a sustained way. By the 1970s, economic growth had all but stopped. The most important lesson is that extractive institutions cannot generate sustained technological change for two reasons: the lack of economic incentives and resistance by the elites. In addition, once all the very inefficiently used resources had been reallocated to industry, there were few economic gains to be had by fiat. Then the Soviet system hit a roadblock, with lack of innovation and poor economic incentives preventing any further progress. The only area in which the Soviets did manage to sustain some innovation was through enormous efforts in military and aerospace technology. As a result they managed to put the first dog, Leika, and the first man, Yuri Gagarin, in space. They also left the world the AK-47 as one of their legacies. Gosplan was the supposedly all-powerful planning agency in charge of the central planning of the Soviet economy. One of the benefits of the sequence of five-year plans written and administered by Gosplan was supposed to have been the long time horizon necessary for rational investment and innovation. In reality, what got implemented in Soviet industry had little to do with the five-year plans, which were frequently revised and rewritten or simply ignored. The development of industry took place on the basis of commands by Stalin and the Politburo, who changed their minds frequently and often completely revised their previous decisions. All plans were labeled “draft” or “preliminary.” Only one copy of a plan labeled “final”—that for light industry in 1939—has ever come to light. Stalin himself said in 1937 that “only bureaucrats can think that planning work ends with the creation of the plan. The creation of the plan is just the beginning. The real direction of the plan develops only after the putting together of the plan.” Stalin wanted to maximize his discretion to reward people or groups who were politically loyal, and punish those who were not. As for Gosplan, its main role was to provide Stalin with information so he could better monitor his friends and enemies. It actually tried to avoid making decisions. If you made a decision that turned out badly, you might get shot. Better to avoid all responsibility. An example of what could happen
Daron Acemoğlu (Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity and Poverty)
Anna Chapman was born Anna Vasil’yevna Kushchyenko, in Volgograd, formally Stalingrad, Russia, an important Russian industrial city. During the Battle of Stalingrad in World War II, the city became famous for its resistance against the German Army. As a matter of personal history, I had an uncle, by marriage that was killed in this battle. Many historians consider the battle of Stalingrad the largest and bloodiest battle in the history of warfare. Anna earned her master's degree in economics in Moscow. Her father at the time was employed by the Soviet embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, where he allegedly was a senior KGB agent. After her marriage to Alex Chapman, Anna became a British subject and held a British passport. For a time Alex and Anna lived in London where among other places, she worked for Barclays Bank. In 2009 Anna Chapman left her husband and London, and moved to New York City, living at 20 Exchange Place, in the Wall Street area of downtown Manhattan. In 2009, after a slow start, she enlarged her real-estate business, having as many as 50 employees. Chapman, using her real name worked in the Russian “Illegals Program,” a group of sleeper agents, when an undercover FBI agent, in a New York coffee shop, offered to get her a fake passport, which she accepted. On her father’s advice she handed the passport over to the NYPD, however it still led to her arrest. Ten Russian agents including Anna Chapman were arrested, after having been observed for years, on charges which included money laundering and suspicion of spying for Russia. This led to the largest prisoner swap between the United States and Russia since 1986. On July 8, 2010 the swap was completed at the Vienna International Airport. Five days later the British Home Office revoked Anna’s citizenship preventing her return to England. In December of 2010 Anna Chapman reappeared when she was appointed to the public council of the Young Guard of United Russia, where she was involved in the education of young people. The following month Chapman began hosting a weekly TV show in Russia called Secrets of the World and in June of 2011 she was appointed as editor of Venture Business News magazine. In 2012, the FBI released information that Anna Chapman attempted to snare a senior member of President Barack Obama's cabinet, in what was termed a “Honey Trap.” After the 2008 financial meltdown, sources suggest that Anna may have targeted the dapper Peter Orzag, who was divorced in 2006 and served as Special Assistant to the President, for Economic Policy. Between 2007 and 2010 he was involved in the drafting of the federal budget for the Obama Administration and may have been an appealing target to the FSB, the Russian Intelligence Agency. During Orzag’s time as a federal employee, he frequently came to New York City, where associating with Anna could have been a natural fit, considering her financial and economics background. Coincidently, Orzag resigned from his federal position the same month that Chapman was arrested. Following this, Orzag took a job at Citigroup as Vice President of Global Banking. In 2009, he fathered a child with his former girlfriend, Claire Milonas, the daughter of Greek shipping executive, Spiros Milonas, chairman and President of Ionian Management Inc. In September of 2010, Orzag married Bianna Golodryga, the popular news and finance anchor at Yahoo and a contributor to MSNBC's Morning Joe. She also had co-anchored the weekend edition of ABC's Good Morning America. Not surprisingly Bianna was born in in Moldova, Soviet Union, and in 1980, her family moved to Houston, Texas. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin, with a degree in Russian/East European & Eurasian studies and has a minor in economics. They have two children. Yes, she is fluent in Russian! Presently Orszag is a banker and economist, and a Vice Chairman of investment banking and Managing Director at Lazard.
Hank Bracker
It is easy to understand why groups can fail. Bringing people together, giving them objectives and bidding them to work like a team regardless of body chemistry may not bring out the best in them. Moreover, almost all groups carry passengers. In a famous experiment, Max Ringelmann, a German psychologist, found that as more people joined a rope-pulling team, the average effort expended by individual team members fell. Indeed, studies of group behaviour reveal that most of the work in groups is done by a third of the membership.1
Helga Drummond (The Economist Guide to Decision-Making: Getting it more right than wrong)
When John Kenneth Galbraith rose to deliver the presidential address of the American Economic Association in 1972, the angular Harvard professor and supremely self-confident adviser to presidents was arguably the most famous living economist in America. From The Affluent Society in 1958 to The New Industrial State in 1967, his critical accounts of capitalism's tendencies to underfund social goods and concentrate corporate control had been fixtures on the best-seller lists. Galbraith's thirteen-part BBC television series on the workings of capitalism in 1977 was to help goad the production of Milton Friedman's counterassertion of 1980, the PBS series Free to Choose, an iconic statement of the new market ideology.
Daniel T. Rodgers (Age of Fracture)
Economists have not always been so dense about self-control problems. For roughly two centuries, the economists who wrote on this topic knew their Humans. In fact, an early pioneer of what we would now call a behavioral treatment of self-control was none other than the high priest of free market economics: Adam Smith. When most people think about Adam Smith, they think of his most famous work, The Wealth of Nations
Richard H. Thaler (Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioural Economics)
Hans Rosling was a world health economist and an indefatigable campaigner for a deeper understanding of the world’s state of development. He is famous for his TED talks and the Gapminder web site. He classifies the wealthiness of the world’s population into four levels: Barefoot. Unable even to afford shoes, they must walk everywhere they go. Income $1 per day. One billion people are at Level 1. Bicycle (and shoes). The $4 per day they make doesn’t sound like much to you and me but it is a huge step up from Level 1. There are three billion people at level 2. The two billion people at Level 3 make $16 a day; a motorbike is within their reach. At $64 per day, the one billion people at Level 4 own a car. (Numbers are rounded for simplicity.) There are of course parallel improvements along other axes as well, including Rosling’s famous washing machine, standard of housing, diet, and infant mortality rates. But we can use transportation as an example, given our overall subject. The miracle of the Industrial Revolution is now easily stated: In 1800, 85% of the world’s population was at Level 1. Today, only 9% is. Over the past half century, the bulk of humanity moved up out of Level 1 to erase the rich-poor gap and make the world wealth distribution roughly bell-shaped. The average American moved from Level 2 in 1800, to level 3 in 1900, to Level 4 in 2000.
J. Storrs Hall (Where Is My Flying Car?: A Memoir of Future Past)
Norman had never believed much in the benefits of economic policy analysis—he would later famously instruct the Bank of England’s chief economist, “You are not here to tell us what to do, but to explain to us why we have done it
Liaquat Ahamed (Lords of Finance: 1929, The Great Depression, and the Bankers who Broke the World)
A sobering denouement had to come...exponential growth is a potent delusion-maker, and in 1999, 10 years after the Nikkei’s peak, I was thinking about the Japanese experience as we were waiting to claim our rental car at San Francisco airport. Silicon Valley was years into its first dotcom bubble, and even with advance reservations people had to wait for the just-returned cars to get serviced and released again into the halting traffic on the clogged Bayshore freeway. Mindful of the Japanese experience, I was thinking that every year after 1995 might be the last spell of what Alan Greenspan famously called irrational exuberance, but it was not in 1996 or 1997 or 1998. And even more so than a decade earlier, there were many economists ready to assure American investors that this spell of exponential growth was really different, that the old rules do not apply in the New Economy where endless rapid growth will readily continue.
Vaclav Smil (Growth: From Microorganisms to Megacities (Mit Press))
But in 1936 a huge archive of Newton’s private manuscripts was put up for auction at Sotheby’s, in London. The papers had been kept from the public for over two centuries. One hundred lots of the manuscripts were bought by the famous British economist, John Maynard Keynes, who found that many of Newton’s papers were written in a secret cypher. And for six years, Keynes struggled to decipher them. He hoped they would reveal the private thoughts of the founder of modern science. But what the code really revealed was another, far darker, side to Newton’s work. For, in the manuscripts, Keynes found a Newton unknown to the rest of the world—a Newton obsessed with religion, and a purveyor of practices of heresy and the occult.
Mark Brake (The Science of Harry Potter: The Spellbinding Science Behind the Magic, Gadgets, Potions, and More!)
The distinguished economist and philosopher Amartya Sen famously called people who always give nothing in this game rational fools for blindly following only material self-interest: “The purely economic man is indeed close to being a social moron. Economic theory has been much preoccupied with this rational fool.
Richard H. Thaler (Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioural Economics)
where Jeffrey Sachs, the Columbia University economist most famous for having designed the “shock therapy” reforms applied to the former Soviet Union, had a live-on-video-link session in which he startled everyone by presenting what careful journalists might describe as an “unusually candid” assessment of those in charge of America’s financial institutions. Sachs’s testimony is especially valuable because, as he kept emphasizing, many of these people were quite up front with him because they assumed (not entirely without reason) that he was on their side: Look, I meet a lot of these people on Wall Street on a regular basis right now . . . I know them. These are the people I have lunch with. And I am going to put it very bluntly: I regard the moral environment as pathological. [These people] have no responsibility to pay taxes; they have no responsibility to their clients; they have no responsibility to counterparties in transactions. They are tough, greedy, aggressive, and feel absolutely out of control in a quite literal sense, and they have gamed the system to a remarkable extent. They genuinely believe they have a God-given right to take as much money as they possibly can in any way that they can get it, legal or otherwise. If you look at the campaign contributions, which I happened to do yesterday for another purpose, the financial markets are the number one campaign contributors in the US system now. We have a corrupt politics to the core . . . both parties are up to their necks in this. But what it’s led to is this sense of impunity that is really stunning, and you feel it on the individual level right now. And it’s very, very unhealthy, I have waited for four years . . . five years now to see one figure on Wall Street speak in a moral language. And I’ve have not seen it once.20 So there you have it. If Sachs was right—and honestly, who is in a better position to know?—then at the commanding heights of the financial system, we’re not actually talking about bullshit jobs. We’re not even talking about people who have come to believe their own propagandists. Really we’re just talking about a bunch of crooks.
David Graeber (Bullshit Jobs: A Theory)
A considerable amount of American consumption spending is not for the enjoyment of consumption per se, but to show off wealth, status, or sexual allure. In the famous phrase of the economist and social critic Thorstein Veblen, this is “conspicuous consumption,” that is, consumption whose main purpose is to impress others rather than to be enjoyed by oneself.2
Jeffrey D. Sachs (The Price Of Civilization: Reawakening American Virtue And Prosperity)
No nation influenced American thinking more profoundly than Germany, W.E.B. DuBois, Charles Beard, Walter Weyl, Richard Ely, Richard Ely, Nicholas Murray Butler, and countless other founders of modern American liberalism were among the nine thousand Americans who studied in German universities during the nineteenth century. When the American Economic Association was formed, five of the six first officers had studied in Germany. At least twenty of its first twenty-six presidents had as well. In 1906 a professor at Yale polled the top 116 economists and social scientists in America; more than half had studied in Germany for at least a year. By their own testimony, these intellectuals felt "liberated" by the experience of studying in an intellectual environment predicated on the assumption that experts could mold society like clay. No European statesman loomed larger in the minds and hearts of American progressives than Otto von Bismarck. As inconvenient as it may be for those who have been taught "the continuity between Bismarck and Hitler", writes Eric Goldman, Bismarck's Germany was "a catalytic of American progressive thought". Bismarck's "top-down socialism", which delivered the eight-hour workday, healthcare, social insurance, and the like, was the gold standard for enlightened social policy. "Give the working-man the right to work as long as he is healthy; assure him care when he is sick; assure him maintenance when he is old", he famously told the Reichstag in 1862. Bismarck was the original "Third Way" figure who triangulated between both ends of the ideological spectrum. "A government must not waver once it has chosen its course. It must not look to the left or right but go forward", he proclaimed. Teddy Roosevelt's 1912 national Progressive Party platform conspicuously borrowed from the Prussian model. Twenty-five years earlier, the political scientist Woodrow Wilson wrote that Bismarck's welfare state was an "admirable system . . . the most studied and most nearly perfected" in the world.
Jonah Goldberg (Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning)
Economist John Kenneth Galbraith in 1978 famously predicted that General Motors so dominated the auto business that other companies would be foolish to try to compete. At the time, the unionized GM held 46 percent of the market. But other auto companies eroded its dominance over the next three decades. In 2008, GM was rescued with a government bailout. By 2014, the auto giant commanded just 17 percent of the market.
Danielle DiMartino Booth (Fed Up: An Insider's Take on Why the Federal Reserve is Bad for America)
Sweden’s Minister of Ecclesiastical Affairs was Alva Myrdal, wife of the famous economist Gunnar Myrdal, and herself a famous leftist economist and non-believer.
Rodney Stark (Reformation Myths: Five Centuries Of Misconceptions And (Some) Misfortunes)
In 1930, in a speech titled “Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren,” the economist John Maynard Keynes made a famous prediction: Within a century, thanks to the growth of wealth and the advance of technology, no one would have to work more than about fifteen hours a week. The challenge would be how to fill all our newfound leisure time without going crazy. “For the first time since his creation,” Keynes told his audience, “man will be faced with his real, his permanent problem—how to use his freedom from pressing economic cares.” But Keynes was wrong. It turns out that when people make enough money to meet their needs, they just find new things to need and new lifestyles to aspire to; they never quite manage to keep up with the Joneses, because whenever they’re in danger of getting close, they nominate new and better Joneses with whom to try to keep up. As a result, they work harder and harder, and soon busyness becomes an emblem of prestige. Which is clearly completely absurd: for almost the whole of history, the entire point of being rich was not having to work so much. Moreover,
Oliver Burkeman (Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals)
You see, whether or not we want to admit it, political contempt and division are what economists call a demand-driven phenomenon. Famous people purvey it, but ordinary citizens are the ones creating a market for it.
Arthur C. Brooks (Love Your Enemies: How Decent People Can Save America from the Culture of Contempt)
The famous Coase theorem,27 thanks to the Nobel Prize-winning economist Ronald Coase, shows that when the pie grows, it’s always possible to find a way of compensating those whose slices would otherwise fall, so that no member loses and at least one benefits.
Alex Edmans (Grow the Pie: How Great Companies Deliver Both Purpose and Profit – Updated and Revised)
it's rather interesting because one of the greatest economists of the world is a substantial shareholder in Berkshire Hathaway and has been from the very early days after Buffett was in control. His textbook always taught that the stock market was perfectly efficient and that nobody could beat it.But his own money went into Berkshire and made him wealthy. So, like Pascal in his famous wager, he hedged his bet.The iron rule of life is that only twenty percent of the people can be in the top fifth Is the stock market so efficient that people can't beat it? Well, the efficient market theory is obviously roughly right-meaning that markets are quite efficient and it's quite hard for anybody to beat the market by significant margins as a stock picker by just being intelligent and working in a disciplined way.Indeed, the average result has to be the average result. By definition, everybody can't beat the market.
Peter D. Kaufman (Poor Charlie's Almanack: The Wit and Wisdom of Charles T. Munger, Expanded Third Edition)
His favoured objects of contemplation were economic facts, usually in statistical form. He used to say that his best ideas came to him from ‘messing about with figures and seeing what they must mean’. Yet he was famously sceptical about econometrics – the use of statistical methods for forecasting purposes. He championed the cause of better statistics, not to provide material for the regression coefficient, but for the intuition of the economist to play on.
Robert Skidelsky (Keynes: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions))
Today, Adam Smith is famous as the father of capitalism and an advocate of a central tenet of free market thought: that greed is supposedly good and it drives markets. This was an idea pushed by neoliberal economists, inspired by Friedrich Hayeck and Milton Friedman, who had no knowledge of the history of moral philosophy, or of Scotland. What they missed is that no gentleman of his time could ever espouse greed, least of all a professor of moral philosophy. Indeed, Adam Smith recognized greed as an economic driver, and saw it as necessary, but also realized that it was a problem for society. His work was not an espousal of greed, but rather a response to it. His work was an attempt to find a way to reign in commercial greed to support the agrarian order, which he believed to be inherently more productive than business.
Jacob Soll (Adam Smith: The Kirkcaldy Papers)
Commenting on an early paper by the Nobel laureate Gary Becker, the economist James Duesenberry famously quipped that “economics is all about choice, while sociology is about why people have no choices.
Duncan J. Watts (Everything is Obvious: Once You Know the Answer)
Recall that GDP, gross domestic product, the dominant metric in economics for the last century, consists of a combination of consumption, plus private investments, plus government spending, plus exports-minus-imports. Criticisms of GDP are many, as it includes destructive activities as positive economic numbers, and excludes many kinds of negative externalities, as well as issues of health, social reproduction, citizen satisfaction, and so on. Alternative measures that compensate for these deficiencies include: the Genuine Progress Indicator, which uses twenty-six different variables to determine its single index number; the UN’s Human Development Index, developed by Pakistani economist Mahbub ul Haq in 1990, which combines life expectancy, education levels, and gross national income per capita (later the UN introduced the inequality-adjusted HDI); the UN’s Inclusive Wealth Report, which combines manufactured capital, human capital, natural capital, adjusted by factors including carbon emissions; the Happy Planet Index, created by the New Economic Forum, which combines well-being as reported by citizens, life expectancy, and inequality of outcomes, divided by ecological footprint (by this rubric the US scores 20.1 out of 100, and comes in 108th out of 140 countries rated); the Food Sustainability Index, formulated by Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition, which uses fifty-eight metrics to measure food security, welfare, and ecological sustainability; the Ecological Footprint, as developed by the Global Footprint Network, which estimates how much land it would take to sustainably support the lifestyle of a town or country, an amount always larger by considerable margins than the political entities being evaluated, except for Cuba and a few other countries; and Bhutan’s famous Gross National Happiness, which uses thirty-three metrics to measure the titular quality in quantitative terms.
Kim Stanley Robinson (The Ministry for the Future)
Venture capitalists and investors have bought into the media-driven narrative that younger people are more likely to build great companies. Vinod Khosla, a cofounder of Sun Microsystems and venture capitalist, said, “People under 35 are the people who make change happen . . . people over 45 basically die in terms of new ideas.” Paul Graham, the founder of Y Combinator, the famous start-up accelerator, said that, when a founder is over the age of thirty-two, investors “start to be a little skeptical.” Zuckerberg himself famously said, with his characteristic absence of tact, “Young people are just smarter.” But, it turns out, when it comes to age, the entrepreneurs we learn about in the media are not representative. In a pathbreaking study, a team of economists—Pierre Azoulay, Benjamin F. Jones, J. Daniel Kim, and Javier Miranda (henceforth referred to as AJKM)—analyzed the age of the founder of every business created in the United States between the years 2007 and 2014. Their study included some 2.7 million entrepreneurs, a far broader and more representative sample than the dozens featured in business magazines. The researchers found that the average age of a business founder in the United States is 41.9 years old—in other words, more than a decade older than the average age of founders featured in the media. And older people don’t just start businesses more than many of us realize; they also succeed at creating highly profitable businesses more often than their younger peers do. AJKM used various metrics of success for a business, including staying in business for longer and ranking among the top firms in revenue and employees. They discovered that older founders consistently had higher probabilities of success, at least until the age of sixty.
Seth Stephens-Davidowitz (Don't Trust Your Gut: Using Data to Get What You Really Want in LIfe)
As economist Joseph Schumpeter famously observed, originality is an act of creative destruction.
Adam M. Grant (Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World)
Stein’s law,” named after the famous economist Herbert Stein from the 1970s: “If something cannot go on forever, it will stop.
Arthur C. Brooks (From Strength to Strength: Finding Success, Happiness, and Deep Purpose in the Second Half of Life)
The situation was similar in the Soviet Union, with industry playing the role of sugar in the Caribbean. Industrial growth in the Soviet Union was further facilitated because its technology was so backward relative to what was available in Europe and the United States, so large gains could be reaped by reallocating resources to the industrial sector, even if all this was done inefficiently and by force. Before 1928 most Russians lived in the countryside. The technology used by peasants was primitive, and there were few incentives to be productive. Indeed, the last vestiges of Russian feudalism were eradicated only shortly before the First World War. There was thus huge unrealized economic potential from reallocating this labor from agriculture to industry. Stalinist industrialization was one brutal way of unlocking this potential. By fiat, Stalin moved these very poorly used resources into industry, where they could be employed more productively, even if industry itself was very inefficiently organized relative to what could have been achieved. In fact, between 1928 and 1960 national income grew at 6 percent a year, probably the most rapid spurt of economic growth in history up until then. This quick economic growth was not created by technological change, but by reallocating labor and by capital accumulation through the creation of new tools and factories. Growth was so rapid that it took in generations of Westerners, not just Lincoln Steffens. It took in the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States. It even took in the Soviet Union’s own leaders, such as Nikita Khrushchev, who famously boasted in a speech to Western diplomats in 1956 that “we will bury you [the West].” As late as 1977, a leading academic textbook by an English economist argued that Soviet-style economies were superior to capitalist ones in terms of economic growth, providing full employment and price stability and even in producing people with altruistic motivation. Poor old Western capitalism did better only at providing political freedom. Indeed, the most widely used university textbook in economics, written by Nobel Prize–winner Paul Samuelson, repeatedly predicted the coming economic dominance of the Soviet Union. In the 1961 edition, Samuelson predicted that Soviet national income would overtake that of the United States possibly by 1984, but probably by 1997. In the 1980 edition there was little change in the analysis, though the two dates were delayed to 2002 and 2012. Though the policies of Stalin and subsequent Soviet leaders could produce rapid economic growth, they could not do so in a sustained way. By the 1970s, economic growth had all but stopped. The most important lesson is that extractive institutions cannot generate sustained technological change for two reasons: the lack of economic incentives and resistance by the elites. In addition, once all the very inefficiently used resources had been reallocated to industry, there were few economic gains to be had by fiat. Then the Soviet system hit a roadblock, with lack of innovation and poor economic incentives preventing any further progress. The only area in which the Soviets did manage to sustain some innovation was through enormous efforts in military and aerospace technology. As a result they managed to put the first dog, Leika, and the first man, Yuri Gagarin, in space. They also left the world the AK-47 as one of their legacies. Gosplan was the supposedly all-powerful planning agency in charge of the central planning of the Soviet economy.
Daron Acemoğlu (Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity and Poverty)
Christian doctrine cautions against greed. So does present-day economist Thomas Sowell: "I have never understood why it is 'greed' to want to keep the money you have earned but not greed to want to take somebody else's money." Using the power of government to grab another person's property isn't exactly altruistic. Jesus never even implied that accumulating wealth through peaceful commerce was in any way wrong; he simply implored people to not allow wealth to rule them or corrupt their character. That's why his greatest apostle, Paul, didn't say money was evil in the famous reference in 1 Timothy 6:10. Here's what Paul actually said: "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs" (emphasis added). Indeed, progressives themselves have not selflessly abandoned money, for it is other people's money, especially that of "the rich," that they're always clamoring for.
Anonymous
World Bank and the International Monetary Fund The World Bank has been in existence since the end of the Second World War. This bank initially operated under the name International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and it collaborates closely with the equally famous International Monetary Fund (IMF). Because both institutions cannot move an inch without the Rothschilds and their monopoly over the world capital, they are completely dependent on this powerful financial dynasty. It is not surprising that the bankers holding top positions within these institutions are Illuminati. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank are two instruments used by the leaders of the New World Order to destroy countries and then govern these territories as colonies. These territories don’t have their own government, nor their own institutions, budgets and frontiers. These colonies only have their own government on paper, which is under the direct supervision of the IMF. According to the Canadian professor and economist Michel Chossudovsky “Wall Street” rules both the IMF and the World Bank:
Robin de Ruiter (Worldwide Evil and Misery - The Legacy of the 13 Satanic Bloodlines)
stars, the Gang of Four and China (and Japan in earlier decades) are all in East Asia. The idea of a regional growth effect has been especially unwelcome to development experts and aid officials who want to give advice on growth. They can advise the national policy makers, but they cannot give advice to the nonexistent regional policy makers. Another sign that regional growth is an important part of the action is that regions move together from one decade to the next. For example, Latin American nations in the 1980s collectively had a famous “lost decade.” A regional credit bubble had burst: global banks had given the region a supply of easy credit at low interest rates in the 1970s, then interest rates went up and credit was cut off in the 1980s. A sensible principle for attribution for national growth performance is that a nation does not get special recognition if its performance is just at the average. It would be foolish for a nation to claim credit for growth that is the same as the average for its region. If a nation is above (or below) these averages, then we can talk about special recognition for the nation’s growth performance. This principle further reduces the share of growth variation explained by permanent national differences. Some of the variation in decade growth rates explained by national differences was really explained by regional differences. Recalculating, we now get only a little more than a tenth of the variation in decade growth rates explained by national differences. Regional growth
William Easterly (The Tyranny of Experts: Economists, Dictators, and the Forgotten Rights of the Poor)
Westerners, not just Lincoln Steffens. It took in the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States. It even took in the Soviet Union’s own leaders, such as Nikita Khrushchev, who famously boasted in a speech to Western diplomats in 1956 that “we will bury you [the West].” As late as 1977, a leading academic textbook by an English economist argued that Soviet-style economies were superior to capitalist ones in terms of economic growth, providing full employment and price stability and even in producing people with altruistic motivation. Poor old Western capitalism did better only at providing political freedom. Indeed, the most widely used university textbook in economics, written by Nobel Prize–winner Paul Samuelson, repeatedly predicted the coming economic dominance of the Soviet Union. In the 1961 edition, Samuelson predicted that Soviet national income would overtake that of the United States possibly by 1984, but probably by 1997. In the 1980 edition there was little change in the analysis, though the two dates were delayed to 2002 and 2012. Though the policies of Stalin and subsequent Soviet leaders could produce rapid economic growth, they could not do so in a sustained way. By the 1970s, economic growth had all but stopped. The most important lesson is that extractive institutions cannot generate sustained technological change for two reasons: the lack of economic incentives and resistance by the elites. In addition, once all the very inefficiently used resources had been reallocated to industry, there were few economic gains to be had by fiat. Then the Soviet system hit a roadblock, with lack of innovation and poor economic incentives preventing any further progress. The only area in which the Soviets did manage to sustain some innovation was through enormous efforts in military and aerospace technology. As a result they managed to put the first dog, Leika, and the first man, Yuri Gagarin, in space. They also left the world the AK-47 as one of their legacies. Gosplan was the supposedly all-powerful planning agency in charge of the central planning of the Soviet economy. One of the benefits of the sequence of five-year plans written and administered by Gosplan was supposed to have been the long time horizon necessary for rational investment and innovation. In reality, what got implemented in Soviet industry had little to do with the five-year plans, which were frequently revised and rewritten or simply ignored. The development of industry took place on the basis of commands by Stalin and the Politburo, who changed their minds frequently and often completely revised their previous decisions. All plans were labeled “draft” or “preliminary.” Only one copy of a plan labeled “final”—that for light industry in 1939—has ever come to light. Stalin himself said in 1937 that “only bureaucrats can think that planning work ends with the creation of the plan. The creation of the plan is just the beginning. The real direction of the plan develops only after the putting together of the plan.” Stalin wanted to maximize his discretion to reward people or groups who were politically loyal, and punish those who were not. As for Gosplan, its main role was to provide Stalin with information so he could better monitor his friends and enemies. It actually tried to avoid making decisions. If you made a decision that turned out badly, you might get shot. Better to avoid all responsibility. An example of what could happen
Daron Acemoğlu (Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity and Poverty)
In 1982, economists at the Brookings Institute estimated that about 62 per cent of the value of a typical American firm stemmed from its physical assets—everything from tables and chairs to factories and inventories. Everything else consisted of more intangible “knowledge assets.” By 1992, the balance had completely reversed. They calculated that only 38 per cent of the average firm’s value came from its physical assets. With the shift towards more knowledge-intensive production processes, it is natural that firms should start to worry much more about employee loyalty. It is relatively easy to stop employees from making off with company property—just post guards at the gate. But when employees leave, they generally take with them all the knowledge and experience they have acquired, and there is no way to stop them. So the best way for a firm to retain control of its assets is to build a strong organizational culture, one that will inspire loyalty and allegiance from its employees. From this perspective, it is entirely predictable that the firms that depend most heavily on the knowledge of their workers will also be the firms that put the most effort into employee retention. Software companies in particular are famous for their efforts to create a corporate culture that will secure employee allegiance.
Joseph Heath (The Efficient Society: Why Canada Is As Close To Utopia As It Gets)
Legends of Bangladesh - A bunch of pure souls who achieved the glory for a country, Bangladesh, will remember forever as the legends of the nation. The world will know them for their work, sacrifice, love and mostly commitment to give best to their country until last breath. Some of them are famous for writing, some are journalism, Actor movie directors, sportsmen, cricketer, Footballer, economist, scientist, photographer, singer, businessman, martyr, architect, magician and so on. Its not enough to salute and remember them, nationwide respect and acknowledgment with proper mind will fulfill their destiny of making a golden country with all those hard work.
hb arif
Economists are so particular about looking at every problem from all sides that it often feels like they never have a firm opinion on anything. That can get pretty frustrating when you are asking them for advice. Harry Truman, the 33rd President of the United States, once famously requested to be sent a ‘one-armed economist’, because he was so tired of hearing every economist say, ‘On the one hand, this,’ and ‘On the other hand, that’.
Roopa Pai (So You Want to Know About Economics)