Economic Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 1361 quotes )
Economics is the art of allocating scarce goods among competing demands. The conceit of Marxism was the thought that in Communism, economics would be "abolished"; this was why one did not have to think about the questions of relative privilege and social justice. But the point is that we still have to think about economics, and probably always will. The question, then, is whether we can arrive at a set of normative rules which seek to protect liberty, reward achievement and enhance the social good, within the constraints of "economics".
ECONOMICS IS HAUNTED by more fallacies than any other study known to man. This is no accident. The inherent difficulties of the subject would be great enough in any case, but they are multiplied a thousandfold by a factor that is insignificant in, say, physics, mathematics or medicine—the special pleading of selfish interests.
Economics is really about two stories. One is the story of the old economist and younger economist walking down the street, and the younger economist says, ‘Look, there’s a hundred-dollar bill,’ and the older one says, ‘Nonsense, if it was there somebody would have picked it up already.’ So sometimes you do find hundred-dollar bills lying on the street, but not often—generally people respond to opportunities. The other is the Yogi Berra line ‘Nobody goes to Coney Island anymore; it’s too crowded.’ That’s the idea that things tend to settle into some kind of equilibrium where what people expect is in line with what they actually encounter.
There has always been a temptation to classify economic goods in clearly defined groups, about which a number of short and sharp propositions could be made, to gratify at once the student’s desire for logical precision, and the popular liking for dogmas that have the air of being profound and are yet easily handled. But great mischief seems to have been done by yielding to this temptation, and drawing broad artificial lines of division where Nature has made none. The more simple and absolute an economic doctrine is, the greater will be the confusion which it brings into attempts to apply economic doctrines to practice, if the dividing lines to which it refers cannot be found in real life. There is not in real life a clear line of division between things that are and are not Capital, or that are and are not Necessaries, or again between labour that is and is not Productive.
Modern prophets say that our economics have failed us. No! It is not our economics which have failed; it is man who has failed-man who has forgotten God. Hence no manner of economic or political readjustment can possibly save our civilization; we can be saved only by a renovation of the inner man, only by a purging of our hearts and souls; for only by seeking first the Kingdom of God and His Justice will all these other things be added unto us.
If the bringing of children into the world is today an economic burden, it is because the social system is inadequate; and not because God’s law is wrong. Therefore the State should remove the causes of that burden. The human must not be limited and controlled to fit the economic, but the economic must be expanded to fit the human.
That economics has a considerable conceptual apparatus with an appropriate terminology can not be a serious ground for complaint. Economic phenomena, ideas, instruments of analysis exist. They require names. Education in economics is, in considerable measure, an introduction to this terminology and to the ideas that it denotes. Anyone who has difficulties with the ideas should complete his education or, following an exceedingly well-beaten path, leave the subject alone. It is sometimes said that the economist has a special obligation to make himself understood because his subject is of such great and popular importance. By this rule the nuclear physicist would have to speak in monosyllables.