Great Quotes

A place for awesome quotes. Add any you think are appropriate–economics, politics or just plain inspirational. I, however, do reserve the right to despotically delete any that I don’t like.

“Long ago, when I was at university, my free market economics professor assured us that in theory, terms of trade benefitted developing countries by offering export markets for their labour and resources.
When I pointed out that reality had consistently impoverished developing countries with higher levels of external debt (this was just as the Third World Debt Crisis was getting rolling), I was told that result was due to “exogenous variables”.
I wrote at the top of my notes: “REALITY IS AN EXOGENOUS VARIABLE”.” –Nouriel Roubini

It’s times like this that remind me of the differences between “conservatives” and “libertarians”. Conservatives are, through no fault of their own, grim social maladroits incapable of thinking or drawing outside of the lines, constricted as they are by child-like notions of “that’s the way it always been”, “different = wrong”, and whatever religious hoodoo was drummed into their inelastic brains during their joyless and awkward adolescence.
Libertarians, on the other hand, are just assholes.–no clue

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done.–John Maynard Keynes

Teflon bankers…

“But perhaps on no other issue is this tendency more pronounced than in matters relating to the markets–a word one apparently cannot use in public in the United States without bending a knee and making the sign of the cross.” –JK Galbraith

Look for the golden age of conservative intellectualism in America, and you keep going back, and back, and back — and eventually you run up against William Buckley in the 1950s declaring that blacks weren’t advanced enough to vote, and that Franco was the savior of Spanish civilization. –Paul Krugman

And A Lesson from Brad Delong:

If the past decade has taught me anything, it has taught me that mistakes are avoided if you follow two rules:
1. Remember that Paul Krugman is right.
2. If your analysis leads you to conclude that Paul Krugman is wrong, refer to rule #1.

PK has since admitted he was actually wrong on some things during the crisis.. but he still has a terrific record, and he is, eventually, willing to admit it. Hey, who among us won’t defend our opinions to the death, eh? His comment in the video about underestimating the role of private debt is likely the result of his awesome battle with Steve Keen to the point of exasperation over the role of private debt and banking. Good on ya, PK.

What the EU is doing to Greece and Spain and the others coupled with the rise of nationalism and fascism that is currently occurring (Nov. 2014) has parallels:

“If we aim deliberately at the impoverishment (austerity, anyone?–zap) of Central Europe, vengeance, I dare predict, will not limp. Nothing can then delay for long that final civil war between the forces of reaction and the despairing convulsions of revolution, before which the horrors of the late German war will fade into nothing, and which will destroy… the civilization and progress of our generation…” –Keynes, “Economic Consequences of the Peace”

Militarization of the police, NSA spying on the entire world, closing of borders, TSA:

Freedom only for the supporters of the government, only for the members of a party – however numerous they may be – is no freedom at all. Freedom is always the freedom of the dissenter. Not because of the fanaticism of “justice”, but rather because all that is instructive, wholesome, and purifying in political freedom depends on this essential characteristic, and its effects cease to work when “freedom” becomes a privilege.

If profits and compensation in the financial sector go up and keep going up, that’s a priori evidence of inefficiency, not efficiency. Those higher profits mean that customers are paying more for their financial services over time, not less, which means that financial services are imposing a larger and larger tax on the economy. –Benjamin Friedman

…As I have argued myself here.

Iraq, Syria, Libya, Ukraine, Vietnam, Korea..on and on ad nauseum:

If I say nothing, I have failed.
If I do nothing, I am guilty.
If I live by these ideals of democracy I can see that war is failure.
A war of opportunity rather than necessity is unjust.
War is the antithesis of peace, prosperity, democracy and freedom.
Let us hear the stories of these young men and women.
Let us see through the eyes of the Iraqis
and the minds of the soldiers
what has occurred under the auspices of freedom and democracy.
Let us then ask ourselves if conflict has brought peace.
Let us be challenged by the horrific atrocities that no one should
have to bear, and then ask ourselves if they were worth it.”–Drew Cameron, Iraq war vet

This is actually a very short story by Fredric Brown, called “Answer”:

Dwar Ev ceremoniously soldered the final connection with gold. The eyes of a dozen television cameras watched him and the sub-ether bore through the universe a dozen pictures of what he was doing.

He straightened and nodded to Dwar Reyn, then moved to a position beside the switch that would complete the contact when he threw it. The switch that would connect, all at once, all of the monster computing machines of all the populated planets in the universe—ninety-six billion planets—into the supercircuit that would connect them all into one supercalculator, one cybernetics machine that would combine all the knowledge of all the galaxies.

Dwar Reyn spoke briefly to the watching and listening trillions. Then after a moment’s silence he said, “Now, Dwar Ev.”

Dwar Ev threw the switch. There was a mighty hum, the surge of power from ninety-six billion planets. Lights flashed and quieted along the miles-long panel.

Dwar Ev stepped back and drew a deep breath. “The honor of asking the first question is yours, Dwar Reyn.”

“Thank you,” said Dwar Reyn. “It shall be a question which no single cybernetics machine has been able to answer.”

He turned to face the machine. “Is there a God?”

The mighty voice answered without hesitation, without the clicking of a single relay.

“Yes, now there is a God.”

Sudden fear flashed on the face of Dwar Ev. He leaped to grab the switch.

A bolt of lightning from the cloudless sky struck him down and fused the switch shut.