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Home > Financial Quotes > Economics

Financial Quotes

Economics Quotes

  • "Economists arguing about the economy: they're like angry astrologers arguing about the effects of Saturn."
    Simon Carr, British journalist
    Source: Independent (London) (June 23, 2011)
  • "Economics, as it has been practised in the last three decades, has been positively harmful for most people."
    Ha-Joon Chang (1963–), South Korean economist and author
    Source: 23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism (2010)
  • "Like other branches of the study of society, economics remains culturally parochial, and its underlying concepts based on a few centuries of Western experience."
    John Gray (1948–), British academic and writer
    Source: London Review of Books (November 19, 2009)
  • "There’s a whole branch of economics devoted to proving that … what most of us would consider humankind’s cardinal virtues—love, honor, compassion—do not actually exist."
    Philipp Meyer (1975?–), US novelist and former financial trader
    Source: Independent (London) (April 27, 2009)
  • "The Robert Mugabe school of economics provides a salutary warning about uncontrolled monetary expansion in generating hyper-inflation. The road to Harare is not as long as we might hope."
    Vince Cable (1943–), British politician
    On the British government's anti-recessionary policies.
    Source: Independent (London) (January 8, 2009)
  • "Although there are shining exceptions, most … practise a modern form of medieval scholasticism—of no use or interest to man or beast."
    Roger Bootle (1952–), British economist, financial analyst, and author
    On modern economists.
    Source: The Trouble With Markets (2009)
  • "Spread the truth—the laws of economics are like the laws of engineering. One set of laws works everywhere."
    Lawrence H. Summers (1954–), US economist and former president of Harvard University
    Source: Quoted in The Shock Doctrine (Naomi Klein, 2007)
  • "An economist is a man who states the obvious in terms of the incomprehensible."
    Alfred A. Knopf (18921984), US publisher
    Source: Quoted in Deflation: What Happens When Prices Fall (Chris Farrell, 2004)
  • "Waiting for supply-side economics to work is like leaving the landing lights on for Amelia Earhart."
    Walter Heller (19151987), US economist
    Source: Quoted in 500 of the Most Witty, Acerbic, and Erudite Things Ever Said About Money (Philip Jenks, 2002)
  • "All the great economic ills the world has known this century can be directly traced back to the London School of Economics."
    N. M. Perera (19051979), Sri Lankan politician
    Source: Quoted in 500 of the Most Witty, Acerbic, and Erudite Things Ever Said About Money (Philip Jenks, 2002)
  • "We may be in a rapidly evolving international financial system with all the bells and whistles of the so-called new economy. But the old-economy rules of prudence are as formidable as ever. We violate them at our own peril."
    Alan Greenspan (1926–), US economist, former chairman of Federal Reserve
    Speech to the Financial Crisis Conference, Council on Foreign Relations, New York.
    Source: “Global Challenges” (July 12, 2000)
  • "We're a me-me-me generation. We're borrowing the savings of every nation in the world. We're … piling up a big tab. Now, I may think we're too big to have a run on us. You may think that. But it's possible that God does not."
    Paul Samuelson (19152009), US economist and winner of the 1970 Nobel Prize in Economics
    Source: Interview, The New Economy? (Online NewsHour, January 13, 2000)
  • "When the facts change, I change my mind."
    John Maynard Keynes (18831946), British economist
    Source: Quoted in Treasury of Investment Wisdom (Bernice Cohen, 1999)
  • "The invisible hand is not perfect. Indeed, the invisible hand is a little bit arthritic … I'm a believer in free markets, but I think we need to be less naïve. We need to accept that markets give us pretty good solutions, but occasionally they will lock in something inferior."
    W. Brian Arthur (1945–), US economist
    Source: Interview, Strategy + Business (April–June 1998)
  • "Economists got away from really questioning how the world works, how decisions actually got made. If something doesn't conform to neoclassical models … people are not somehow behaving themselves properly."
    W. Brian Arthur (1945–), US economist
    Source: Interview, Strategy + Business (April–June 1998)
  • "Humans have trouble with economics, as you may have noticed, and not just because economic circumstances sometimes cause them to starve. Humans seem to have an innate inability to pay attention to economic principles."
    P. J. O'Rourke (1947–), US humorist and journalist
    Source: Eat the Rich (1998), ch. 1
  • "Neoclassical economics … has uncovered important truths about the nature of money and markets because its fundamental model of rational self-interested human behavior is correct about 80% of the time."
    Francis Fukuyama (1952–), US economist and writer
    Source: Trust: The Social Virtues and the Creation of Prosperity (1995)
  • "Economics is as much a study in fantasy and aspiration as in hard numbers—maybe more so."
    Theodore Roszak (19331981), US historian, writer, and editor
    Source: The Making of a Counter Culture (1995), Introduction
  • "Unfortunately monetarism, like Marxism, suffered the only fate that for a theory is worse than death: it was put into practice."
    Ian Gilmour (19262007), British politician
    Source: Dancing with Dogma (1992)
  • "Trickle-down theory—the less than elegant metaphor that if one feeds the horse enough oats, some will pass through to the road for the sparrows."
    J. K. Galbraith (19082006), US economist and diplomat
    Source: The Culture of Contentment (1992)
  • "I think there are two areas where new ideas are terribly dangerous—economics and sex. By and large, it's all been tried before, and if it's new, it's probably illegal or unhealthy."
    Felix Rohatyn (1928–), US investment company executive
    Source: Quoted in Business Babble: A Cynic's Dictionary of Corporate Jargon (David Olive, 1991)
  • "If freedom were not so economically efficient it certainly wouldn't stand a chance."
    Milton Friedman (19122006), US economist and winner of the 1976 Nobel Prize in Economics
    Source: Quoted in “Sayings of the Week,” Observer (London) (March 1, 1987)
  • "Economists are always recommending the elimination of this or that market imperfection … no astrophysicist recommends the elimination of planets that he does not like."
    Lester Thurow (1938–), US economist, management theorist, and writer
    Referring to how economists relate to economic realities.
    Source: Dangerous Currents (1983)
  • "There are two things you are better off not watching in the making: sausages and econometric estimates."
    Edward E. Leamer (1944–), US economist
    Source: “Let’s Take the Con Out of Econometrics,” American Economic Review (1983)
  • "Economics is extremely useful as a form of employment for economists."
    J. K. Galbraith (19082006), US economist and diplomat
    Source: Quoted in The Book of Incomes (Gerald Krefetz and Philip Gittelman, 1982)
  • "The modern history of economic theory is a tale of evasions of reality."
    Thomas Balogh (19051985), British economist
    Referring to classical economics.
    Source: The Irrelevance of Conventional Economics (1982)
  • "Did you ever think that making a speech on economics is a lot like pissing down your leg? It seems hot to you but it never does to anyone else."
    Lyndon B. Johnson (19081973), US president
    Source: Quoted in A Life in Our Times (J. K. Galbraith, 1981)
  • "The experience of being disastrously wrong is salutary; no economist should be denied it, and not many are."
    J. K. Galbraith (19082006), US economist and diplomat
    Source: A Life in Our Times (1981)
  • "Having a little inflation is like being a little bit pregnant."
    Leon Henderson (18951986), US administrator
    Source: Quoted in Peter's Quotations: Ideas For Our Time (Laurence J. Peter, 1977)
  • "We hate inflation, but we love everything that causes it."
    William Simon (19272000), US Treasury Secretary
    Source: Speech (1974)
  • "In economics, hope and faith coexist with great scientific pretension and also a deep desire for respectability."
    J. K. Galbraith (19082006), US economist and diplomat
    Source: New York Times Magazine (June 1970)
  • "An economist is a surgeon with an excellent scalpel and a rough-edged lancet, who operates beautifully on the dead and tortures the living."
    Nicholas Chamfort (17411794), French writer
    Source: Products of the Perfected Civilization: Selected Writings (1969)
  • "Inflation might be called prosperity with high blood pressure."
    Arnold H. Glasgow, US psychologist
    Source: Quoted in Readers Digest (1966)
  • "One speaks with great respect of economists, if only because they represent such a variety of opinions."
    Robert Menzies (18941978), Australian prime minister
    Source: Sydney Morning Herald (March 14, 1964)
  • "Economists may not know how to run the economy, but they know how to create shortages or gluts simply by regulating prices below the market, or artificially supporting them from above."
    Milton Friedman (19122006), US economist and winner of the 1976 Nobel Prize in Economics
    Source: Attributed (1962)
  • "Economics limps along with one foot in untested hypotheses and the other in untestable slogans."
    Joan Robinson (19031983), British economist
    Source: “Metaphysics, Morals and Science,” Economic Philosophy (1962)
  • "Everybody is always in favour of general economy and particular expenditure."
    Anthony Eden (Earl of Avon) (18971977), British prime minister
    Source: Quoted in “Sayings of the Week,” Observer (London) (June 17, 1956)
  • "Economists can be called the worldly philosophers for they sought to embrace in a scheme of philosophy the most worldly of man's activities—his drive for wealth."
    Robert L. Heilbroner (19192005), US economist
    Source: The Worldly Philosophers (1953), Introduction
  • "The ideas of economists and political philosophers … are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else. Practical men who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influences, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist."
    John Maynard Keynes (18831946), British economist
    Source: The General Theory of Employment Interest and Money (1936)
  • "What a country calls its vital economic interests are not the things that enable its citizens to live, but the things that enable it to make war."
    Simone Weil (19091943), French philosopher and activist
    Source: The Need for Roots (1935)
  • "If economists could manage to get themselves thought of as humble, competent people on a level with dentists, that would be splendid."
    John Maynard Keynes (18831946), British economist
    Source: Essays in Persuasion (1931)
  • "A commodity appears, at first sight, a very trivial thing, and easily understood. Its analysis shows that is is, in reality, a very queer thing, abounding in metaphysical subtleties and theological niceties."
    Karl Marx (18181883), German political and economic philosopher
    Source: Das Kapital (1867), vol. 1
  • "As in the instances of alchemy, astrology, witchcraft, and other such popular creeds, political economy, has a plausible idea at the root of it."
    John Ruskin (18191900), British art critic and writer
    Source: “The Roots of Honour,” Unto This Last (1862)
  • "One of the soundest rules to remember when making forecasts in the field of economics is that whatever is to happen is happening already."
    Sylvia Porter (19131991), US journalist and finance expert
    Source: Attributed

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