The enemy of the conventional wisdom is not ideas but the march of events.
In economics, the majority is always wrong.
People of privilege will always risk their complete destruction rather than surrender any material part of their advantage.
In any great organization it is far, far safer to be wrong with the majority than to be right alone.
It is almost as important to know what is not serious as to know what is.
In the United States, though power corrupts, the expectation of power paralyzes.
More die in the United States of too much food than of too little.
Modesty is a vastly overrated virtue.
By all but the pathologically romantic, it is now recognized that this is not the age of the small man.
The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable.
We all agree that pessimism is a mark of superior intellect.
The Affluent Society.
The salary of the chief executive of a large corporation is not a market award for achievement. It is frequently in the nature of a warm personal gesture by the individual to himself.
It is easy to overlook the absence of appreciable advance in an industry. Inventions that are not made, like babies that are not born, are rarely missed.
People who are in a fortunate position always attribute virtue to what makes them so happy.
Economics is extremely useful as a form of employment for economists.
Money differs from an automobile or mistress in being equally important to those who have it and those who do not.
In the choice between changing ones mind and proving there's no need to do so, most people get busy on the proof.
One of the greatest pieces of economic wisdom is to know what you do not know.
There is something wonderful in seeing a wrong-headed majority assailed by truth.
The commencement speech is not, I think, a wholly satisfactory manifestation of our culture.
Inventions that are not made, like babies that are not born, are not missed.
When people are the least sure, they are often the most dogmatic.
All of the great leaders have had one characteristic in common: it was the willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time. This, and not much else, is the essence of leadership.
The Metropolis should have been aborted long before it became New York, London or Tokyo.
War remains the decisive human failure.
Few can believe that suffering, especially by others, is in vain. Anything that is disagreeable must surely have beneficial economic effects.
Much literary criticism comes from people for whom extreme specialization is a cover for either grave cerebral inadequacy or terminal laziness, the latter being a much cherished aspect of academic freedom.
Increasingly in recent times we have come first to identify the remedy that is most agreeable, most convenient, most in accord with major pecuniary or political interest, the one that reflects our available faculty for action then we move from the remedy so available or desired back to a cause to which that remedy is relevant.
A bad book is the worse that it cannot repent. It has not been the devil's policy to keep the masses of mankind in ignorance; but finding that they will read, he is doing all in his power to poison their books.
There's a certain part of the contented majority who love anybody who is worth a billion dollars.
It is a far, far better thing to have a firm anchor in nonsense than to put out on the troubled seas of thought.
Total physical and mental inertia are highly agreeable, much more so than we allow ourselves to imagine. A beach not only permits such inertia but enforces it, thus neatly eliminating all problems of guilt. It is now the only place in our overly active world that does.
We can safely abandon the doctrine of the eighties, namely that the rich were not working because they had too little money, the poor because they had much.
If wrinkles must be written upon our brows, let them not be written upon the heart. The spirit should never grow old.
In all life one should comfort the afflicted, but verily, also, one should afflict the comfortable, and especially when they are comfortably, contentedly, even happily wrong.
Wealth is not without its advantages and the case to the contrary, although it has often been made, has never proved widely persuasive.
The conventional view serves to protect us from the painful job of thinking.
People are the common denominator of progress. So ... no improvement is possible with unimproved people, and advance is certain whenpeople are liberated and educated. It would be wrong to dismiss the importance of roads, railroads, power plants, mills, and the otherfamiliar furniture of economic development.... But we are coming to realize ... that there is a certain sterility in economic monuments thatstand alone in a sea of illiteracy. Conquest of illiteracy comes first.
There are times in politics when you must be on the right side and lose.
The conspicuously wealthy turn up urging the character building values of the privation of the poor.
You will find that the State is the kind of organization which, though it does big things badly, does small things badly, too.
There are few ironclad rules of diplomacy but to one there is no exception. When an official reports that talks were useful, it can safely be concluded that nothing was accomplished.
Humor is richly rewarding to the person who employs it. It has some value in gaining and holding attention, but it has no persuasive value at all.
In economics, hope and faith coexist with great scientific pretension and also a deep desire for respectability.
Wealth, in even the most improbable cases, manages to convey the aspect of intelligence.
All successful revolutions are the kicking in of a rotten door.
If all else fails, immortality can always be assured by spectacular error.
The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.
Meetings are a great trap. Soon you find yourself trying to get agreement and then the people who disagree come to think they have a right to be persuaded. However, they are indispensable when you don't want to do anything.
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Thomas Malthus - Max Weber - Alan Greenspan - Vilfredo Pareto - Muhammad Yunus - Joseph E. Stiglitz - John Perkins - John Kenneth Galbraith - David Ricardo - Adam Smith