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All the perplexities, confusion and distress in America rise ... from downright ignorance of the nature of coin, credit and circulation.
1787 - from a letter to Thomas Jefferson
[After an analysis of the teaching of economics in Canadian high schools] ... we found an unmistakable tilt in economics education toward Fabian and Keynesian themes, and a general absence of the corpus of thought that supported the idea of a free marketplace.
Jan. 1994 - from "Was Dewey a Marxist?", published by The St. Lawrence Institute for the Advancement of Learning
Churchill, Sir Winston
Some regard private enterprise as if it were a predatory tiger to be shot. Others look upon it as a cow that they can milk. Only a handful see it for what it really is - the strong horse that pulls the whole cart.
In finance everything that is agreeable is unsound and everything that is sound is disagreeable.
Contradicting fears that Canada's poor are a permanently entrenched underclass, a new study shows low incomes are a transitory phase for many Canadians. Roughly half of Canadians who earned low incomes in any year from 1993-96 earned normal incomes the following year, according to a Statistics Canada study... Up to 20% of Canadians were in a low-income situation for at least one year between 1993-96, says the study, but only 5% experienced low income for all four years.
Mar. 26, 1999 - from her report in
The National Post
Clark, John Maurice
Knowledge is the only instrument of production that is not subject to diminishing returns.
Prosperity is only an instrument to be used, not a deity to be worshipped.
I think the costs of going down to [zero inflation] are high, and there are real asymmetries when you get into price deflation. We haven't got much evidence that things work a lot better at zero than they do at one or two.
Feb. 2, 2001 - quoted in "The costs of getting to perfection", by William Thorsell, published in the
Globe and Mail
Elson, Robert T.
Canada - a triumph of politics over geography and economics - and sometimes it seems over common sense.
Finlay, J. Richard
What is happening to Canada's economic image in the world results in no small part from the paucity of political ideas and underdeveloped leaders of all parties that have been the bane of the nation for too long. It is this climate that has allowed flawed policy decisions to go unchecked, either by public opinion or by counterbalancing political mechanisms. Canadians must accept responsibility for their fate...
from a column in the
There is only one place inflation is made in Canada, and that's in Ottawa.
Economic conservatives of a certain sort get all twitchy when social conservatives nag them about the break-up of the family. Sophisticated people want to talk about capital formation and the deficit; they imagine that it is only the Savonarolas who would fret about divorce, illegitimacy, and the dwindling vitality of marriage and family in America. In fact, however, the cultural changes that worry social conservatives are likely to make it much more difficult for economic conservatives to win elections in the years ahead. What constituency can there be for Social Security reform and reductions in the welfare functions of government in a society where an ever-rising proportion of the female electorate -- which is 52 percent of the total electorate -- has come to depend on Social Security and welfare?
Feb. 09, 1997 - from a collection of essays published under the title "On the Future of Conservatism" by
Canada devalued its dollar from 89˘ to 66˘ in the 1990s because this forced reduction in labour costs was the only way our over-taxed economy could remain competitive with the surging American dynamo. We might have used the prosperous years since 1996 to re-engineer our economy in ways that would have encouraged young techies to stay home and that would have stimulated capital investment. Instead, the Chretien government has persisted in treating the tax issue as a selfish concern of the well-to-do.
Jan. 01, 2000 - from "Global warming, No; land claims, Yes", published in the
Galbraith, John Kenneth
In economics, the majority is always wrong.
1968 - quoted in the
Saturday Evening Post
Economics is extremely useful as a form of employment for economists.
I guess I should warn you, if I turn out to be particularly clear, you've probably misunderstood what I've said.
1988 - from a speech to the Economic Club of New York
The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups.
Most things about economics are simple, the problem is to recognize simplicity when you see it!
[The] Artic National Wildlife Refuge is the poster child of cake-and-eat-it-too eco-petulance. It's a place so remote and so desolate that not one American in a million will ever see it. Exploration would affect no more than eight percent of the refuge. Rather than disturb the mating grounds of caribou, however, our exquisite environmentalists have prevented exploration of what could be our next Prudhoe Bay. And for reasons of nothing less than hysteria, they have also blocked the one supply side solution to the environment vs. energy conundrum: nuclear power. Nuclear is the one mode of electricity generation that avoids nearly all traditional environmental damage--the noxious gases, the particulates, and best of all, carbon dioxide, the primary greenhouse gas. Nuclear waste is not a trivial problem, but it has the distinct advantage of being concentrated and not dispersed in the atmosphere. Yet the allergy to nuclear is so extreme and irrational that even in the midst of this crisis, no one dares mention it as a long-term alternative.
Feb. 18, 2001 - from "Supply and demand realities", which helps explain rocketing electricity and gas prices, published by the Washington Post Writers Group
This enormous loss of national wealth [the 40% decline in the value of the Canadian dollar] was purposely engineered by Canadian governments, Liberals and Tories, in order to keep exports competitive on world markets. Without currency devaluation, the government would have had to cut social spending, sharply reduce personal and business taxes, and slash regulation. Unions would have had to accept wages competitive with the USA. But a falling dollar also means all imported raw and finished goods, from chemicals and lettuce to cars, rise in cost. Because much of this increase is hidden, and comes over years in small increments, most people don't see the government's depreciation shell game.
Nov. 19, 2000 - from "Canada: From Riches to Rags in Only 30 Years"
Morton, William L.
The Canadian frontier is a northern frontier and is an extension overseas of the northern frontier and northern economy of the North Lands of Europe.
Economics is an entire scientific discipline of not knowing what you're talking about.
1998 - from
Eat the Rich
We have two economic systems working for America: capitalism for the rich and socialism for the poor. The problem with a government that lets both systems operate is that the middle class gets stuck working for the rich to support the poor.
1997 - from
Pimps, Whores and Welfare Brats
The truth is that economic competition is the very opposite of competition in the animal kingdom. It is not a competition in the grabbing off of scarce nature-given supplies, as it is in the animal kingdom. Rather, it is a competition in the positive creation of new and additional wealth.
In order for a country to act intelligently in adopting laws and institutions that bear upon economic life, it is clearly necessary that its citizens understand the principles that govern the development and functioning of the division of labor, that is, understand the principles of economics. If they do not, then it is only a question of time before that country will adopt more and more destructive laws and institutions, ultimately stopping all further economic progress and causing actual economic decline, with all that that implies about the conditions of human life.
1996 - from
Capitalism: A Treatise on Economics
Economics has powerful implications for ethics. It demonstrates exhaustively that in a division-of-labor, capitalist society, one man's gain is not another man's loss, that, indeed, it is actually other men's gain—especially in the case of the building of great fortunes. In sum, economics demonstrates that the rational self-interests of all men are harmonious. In so doing, economics raises a leading voice against the traditional ethics of altruism and self-sacrifice. It presents society - a division-of-labor, capitalist society - not as an entity over and above the individual, to which he must sacrifice his interests, but as an indispensable means within which the individual can fulfill the ultimate ends of his own personal life and happiness.
1996 - from
Capitalism: A Treatise on Economics
Critics of productivity statistics are right to be skeptical when comparing such figures over long periods of time, such as between the sixties and the nineties. They are also right that productivity figures for such undefinable categories as "services" or "manufacturing" are very crude and bound to mix things up. All of the best criticisms combined, however, cannot excuse the fashionable statistical nihilism of recent years, which often comes down to little more than picking the economic numbers you like and discarding all the rest.
Nov. 20, 1997 -
from "Can the Old Measurements Gauge the New Economy?", published at IntellectualCapital.com
The terror of the Great Crash has been the failure to explain it. People were left with the feeling that massive economic contractions could occur at any moment, without warning, without cause. That fear has been exploited ever since as the major justification for virtually unlimited federal intervention in economic affairs.
Nov. 9, 1979 - from "What Do We Know About the Great Crash", in
Einstein said that the position of the observer is an integral part of the data, but he did not say that it was the only part of the data, as sweeping leftist dismissals of 'bourgeois' economics or of the ideas of 'dead white males' might suggest. Moreover, the position of the observer was not a merely subjective matter, as you might think from listening to the deconstructionists.
May 17, 1999 - from "Social dogmas and pseudoscience", published in
Price fixing does not represent simply windfall gains and losses to particular groups according to whether the price happens to be set higher or lower than it would be otherwise. It represents a net lose to the economy as a whole to the extent that many transactions do not take place at all, because the mutually acceptable possibilities have been reduced.
Stockman, David A.
None of us really understands what's going on with all these numbers... People are getting from A to B and it's not clear how they are getting there...
Dec. 1981 - quoted in "The Education of David Stockman" by William Greider, published in
What's the single most important thing to learn from an economics course today? What I tried to leave my students with is the view that the invisible hand is more powerful than the unhidden hand. Things will happen in well-organized efforts without direction, controls, plans. That's the consensus among economists.
1998 - quoted in
The Commanding Heights
by Yergen and Stanislaw, Simon and Schuster
... conservatives above all should never forget, there is more to politics than economics. Indeed, if government is small enough (or even weak enough), the infinite inventiveness of human talent will see to it that, in general, the economics take care of themselves.
Dec. 22, 1997 - from a speech at the International Conservative Congress, as quoted in
von Mises, Ludwig
...economic history is a long record of government policies that failed because they were designed with a bold disregard for the laws of economics.
Those fighting for free enterprise and free competition do not defend the interests of those rich today. They want a free hand left to unknown men who will be the entrepreneurs of tomorrow.
All people, however fanatical they may be in their zeal to disparage and to fight capitalism, implicitly pay homage to it by passionately clamoring for the products it turns out.
[Adam] Smith wrote: "Consumption is the sole end and purpose of all production; and the interest of the producer ought to be attended to, only so far as it may be necessary for promoting that of the consumer. The maxim is so self-evident that it would be absurd to attempt to prove it. But in the mercantile system, the interest of the consumer is almost constantly sacrificed to that of the producer; and it seems to consider production, and not consumption, as the ultimate end and object of all industry and commerce." Has anyone ever written a better description of the philosophy that drives Canada's politico-cultural complex?
Jun. 23, 2001 - from "The culture of mercantilism", published in the
One man's wage rise is another man's price increase.
Jan. 11, 1970 - quoted in the London
The MacMillan Dictionary of Quotations