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A Collection of Quotations & Ideas About Capitalism

What kind of society isn’t structured on greed? The problem of social organization is how to set up an arrangement under which greed will do the least harm; capitalism is that kind of system.

Milton Friedman

The chief safeguard of personal freedom in a democratic society is the anarchy and disorder of capitalist individualism.

Christopher Dawson

Socialism proposes no adequate substitute for the motive of enlightened selfishness that today is at the basis of all human labour and effort, enterprise and new activity.

William Taft

[Adam] Smith was not the proponent of any one class. He was a slave to his system. His whole economic philosophy stemmed from his unquestioning faith in the ability of the market to guide the system to its point of highest return. The market—that wonderful social machine—would take care of society’s needs if it was left alone. Don’t try to do good, says Smith. Let good emerge as the by-product of selfishness.

Robert L. Heilbroner, The Worldly Philosophers, 1961

It had been held that the economic system, any capitalist system, found its equilibrium at full employment. Left to itself, it was thus that it came to rest. Idle men and idle plant were an aberration, a wholly temporary failing. Keynes showed that the modern economy could as well find its equilibrium with continuing, serious unemployment. Its perfectly normal tendency was to what economists have since come to call an underemployment equilibrium.

John Kenneth Galbraith, The Age of Uncertainty, 1977

The book [Keynes’ The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money] was revolutionary: no other word will quite do. It stood economics on its head for the book had a startling and dismaying conclusion. There was no automatic safety mechanism after all! Rather than a see-saw which would always right itself, the economy resembled an elevator: it could be going up or down, but it could also be standing perfectly still. And it was just as capable of standing still on the ground floor as at the top of the shaft. A depression, in other words, might not cure itself at all; the economy could lie prostrate indefinitely, like a ship becalmed.

Robert L. Heilbroner, The Worldly Philosophers, 1961

I think that Capitalism, wisely managed, can probably be made more efficient for attaining economic ends than any alternative system yet in sight, but that in itself is in many ways extremely objectionable.

John Maynard Keynes

Capitalism has never anywhere provided good houses at moderate cost. Housing, it seems unnecessary to stress, is an important adjunct of a successful urban life. Nor does capitalism provide good health services, and when people live close together with attendant health risks, these too are important. Nor does capitalism provide efficient transportation for people—another essential of the life of the Metropolis. In Western Europe and Japan the failure of capitalism in the fields of housing, health and transportation is largely, though not completely, accepted. There industries have been intensively socialized. In the United States there remains the conviction that, however contrary the experience, private enterprise will eventually serve.

John Kenneth Galbraith, The Age of Uncertainty, 1977

The tendency of advanced capitalism has been to enlarge the middle class and not to wipe it out, as it once seemed likely to do.

George Orwell, England Your England, 1941

In Europe and the United States the two decades following the Second World War will for long be remembered as a very good time, the time when capitalism really worked. Everywhere in the industrialized countries production increased. Unemployment was everywhere low. Prices were nearly stable. When production lagged and unemployment rose, governments intervened to take up the slack, as Keynes had urged.

John Kenneth Galbraith, The Age of Uncertainty, 1977

Ownership is not a general feature of our society, determining its character. On the contrary, dependence on a precarious wage at the will of others is the general feature of our society.

Hilaire Belloc, The Restoration of Property, 1936

When well-divided property has disappeared and Capitalism has taken its place, you cannot reverse the process without acting against natural economic tendencies.

Hilaire Belloc, The Restoration of Property, 1936

The power of the State must be invoked for restoring economic freedom just as it has been invoked for destroying economic freedom.

Hilaire Belloc, The Restoration of Property, 1936

Only through big government can democratic authority resist concentrated economic power.

Too much capitalism does not mean too many capitalists, but too few capitalists.

G. K. Chesterton

There is less difference than many suppose between the ideal Socialist system, in which the big businesses are run by the State, and the present Capitalist system, in which the State is run by the big businesses.

G. K. Chesterton

The Liberal Party abandoned the principles of reform and social liberalism and has become, instead, just another piece of political machinery in the service of corporatism.

Eric Kierans, Remembering, 2001

The corporation is the dominant and dominating institution of our time. Governments identify growth and development with commercial corporations and shower them with subsidies, tax privileges, and appropriate labour legislation and market support to attract a commitment and investment.

Eric Kierans, Remembering, 2001

The largest 100 corporations hold 25 percent of the worldwide productive assets, which in turn control 75 percent of international trade and 98 percent of all foreign direct investment.

The multinational corporation...puts the economic decision beyond the effective reach of the political process and its decision-makers, national governments.

Peter Drucker

Were it part of our everyday education and comment that the corporation is an instrument for the exercise of power, that it belongs to the process by which we are governed, there would then be debate on how that power is used and how it might be made subordinate to the public will and need. This debate is avoided by propagating the myth that the power does not exist.

John Kenneth Galbraith, The Age of Uncertainty, 1977

Consider the hypothesis that the world is being steered by moneyed interests with special access to governments. This would have obvious implications for democratic reforms. It would mean that it is nearly useless to resort to reasoned arguments of a kind that the powers-that-be understand very well but consider not in their interests to recognize.

Economic Reform, June 2001

Half the population hold that the government is run by a few big interests looking out for themselves, as polls regularly show.

Noam Chomsky

Bigness, especially big business, is the curse of democratic life.

Big corporations went from being tax payers to tax recipients, and by 1986, the conservative Economist calculates, lost revenues from industry tax breaks “exceeded the government’s entire receipts from the personal income tax.”

Wayne Roberts

Capital, never concerned with distribution, is now less and less concerned with production. Capital is driving for power, for the control over markets, lands, resources. Capital, in corporate hands, can move anywhere and thus demand and get the utmost in concessions and privileges as well as the freedom to operate in the interest of ever-increasing wealth and assets.

Eric Kierans, Remembering, 2001

Why would you pour a foundation, buy machines, hire employees, if you can make as much money buying bonds?

Frank Stronach, Former CEO of Magna International

The payment of the worker is not determined by the value of his product.

Albert Einstein

When a man tells you that he got rich through hard work, ask him whose.

There’s no evidence that more people with more skills would produce more jobs. There’s a great deal of evidence that they produce more competition for the jobs that exist, and in turn, drive down the cost of labour. Nothing pleases a corporation more than having five people compete for the same job.

Competitiveness means good times for machines, not workers, because our tax systems privilege machines over workers.

A lost job can put a smile on any shareholder’s face.

Eric Reguly, Globe and Mail, Oct. 24, 1998

We are developing in the United States a huge underclass of unwanted people, many of them the descendants of the exploitation of the South American and Latin American countries by American piratical capitalism. Not all capitalism is piratical, but some of it certainly is. And we have a fantastic gap beginning to exist between rich and poor.

Fr. Benedict Groeshel

Technological society leads to increasing numbers of people who cannot adapt to the inhuman rhythm of modern life with its emphasis on specialization. A class of people is growing up who are unexploitable because they are not worth employing even for the minimum wage. Technological progress makes whole categories of people useless without making it possible to support them with the wealth produced by the progress.

Jacques Ellul

Wealth accumulates, and men decay.

Oliver Goldsmith

There is no intrinsic reason for the scarcity of capital.

John Maynard Keynes

The most persistent fallacy about banking is that banks are intermediators between lenders and borrowers. In fact the cardinal function of banks is not intermediation but money-creation.

William F. Hixson, It’s Your Money, 1997

What banks loan “for the most part” is money they create—non-preexisting money.

William F. Hixson, It’s Your Money, 1997

Then came the second Amsterdam discovery, although the principle was known elsewhere. [Bank] deposits...did not need to be left idly in the bank. They could be lent. The bank then got interest. The borrower then had a deposit that he could spend. But the original deposit still stood to the credit of the original depositor. That too could be spent. Money, spendable money, had been created. Let no one rub his or her eyes. It’s still being done—every day. The creation of money by a bank is as simple as this, so simple, I’ve often said, that the mind is slightly repelled.

John Kenneth Galbraith, The Age of Uncertainty, 1977

Our economic system creates scarcity in the midst of plenty.

Scarcity is what gives the moneyed interests their control over the economy and keeps the poor in chronic dependency. Poor communities have what it takes to become hives of economic activity. There are more than enough needs and skills to go around.

The supply of money depends on people going into debt, and the level of debt within an economy is no more than the measure of the amount of money the banks have created.

In making loans banks create enough money for the principal to be repaid, but not enough for the interest as well as the principal to be repaid. If all loans had to be repaid on the same day some borrowers would necessarily have to default. It is in the very nature of the system to create this type of problem. Banks are always in a “need to catch-up” situation. Thus every year on average the supply of bank created money needs to be increased by at least the average rate of interest that banks charge on their loans. This assertion is true enough to be significant, but greatly oversimplifies the actual situation.

The banks have the ability to shut down the economy at will. They can veto prosperity by refusing to make net new loans.

William F. Hixson, It’s Your Money, 1997

The Federal Reserve [the privately owned U.S. central bank] definitely caused The Great Depression by contracting the amount of currency in circulation by one third from 1929 to 1933.

Milton Friedman

I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. Already they have raised up a monied aristocracy that has set the Government at defiance. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people to whom it properly belongs.

Thomas Jefferson

[Andrew Jackson’s] energy was largely directed towards saving us from the chief evil which destroys the nations of today. He sought to cut down, as with a sword of simplicity, the new and nameless enormity of finance; and he must have known, as by a lightning flash, that the people were behind him, because all the politicians were against him.

G. K. Chesterton, What I Saw in America, 1922

Until the control of the issue of currency and credit is restored to government and recognized as its most conspicuous and sacred responsibility, all talk of sovereignty of Parliament and of democracy is idle and futile... Once a nation parts with control of its credit, it matters not who makes the nation’s laws... Usury once in control will wreck any nation.

William Lyon Mackenzie King

Historically, usury was defined as any interest whatever on an unproductive loan.

Our whole banking system I have ever abhorred, I continue to abhor, and I shall die abhorring.

John Adams

All money in our society, except the tiny portion (6%) still created by government, comes into existence only if someone is willing to borrow it and pay the interest and the principal on the loan.

David Gracey, Economic Reform, June 2001

Creating money is immensely profitably to a government or a banking system.

William F. Hixson, It’s Your Money, 1997

The basic issue is whether the financial elite or the government on behalf of the people should have the profit from creating money.

Linda McQuaig, Shooting the Hippo, 1996

The very idea of a government that can create money for itself allowing banks to create money that the government then borrows and pays interest on is so preposterous that it staggers the imagination. Either everyone in government in charge of the procedure is deficient in intelligence or they have been bought and paid for by those who profit from their venality and infidelity to the public interest.

William F. Hixson, It’s Your Money, 1997

Between 1980 and 1990 Latin American countries paid $418 billion on original borrowings of $80 billion.

Approximately $140 billion in foreign aid flowed from the rich to the poor countries between 1960 and 1993. Approximately $1400 billion in debt payments flowed from the poor to the rich countries during the same period.

According to the UN’s World Development Report, third world debt has increased to $2000 billion, up from $100 billion 30 years ago.

Behind the abstraction known as ‘the markets’ lurks a set of institutions designed to maximize the wealth and power of the most privileged group of people in the world, the creditor-rentier class of the First World and their junior partners in the Third.

Doug Henwood, Wall Street: How it Works, and For Whom

A rentier is an investor whose relationship to a company or enterprise is strictly limited to the ownership of financial wealth (such as stocks or bonds) and the receipt of income on that wealth (such as dividends or interest).

[The] financial system performs dismally at its advertised task, that of efficiently directing society’s savings towards their optimal investment pursuits. The system is stupefyingly expensive, gives terrible signals for the allocation of capital, and has surprisingly little to do with real investment.

Doug Henwood

High interest rates focus on the revenue of a parasitic class.

Historically the financial system has been structured in favour of moneyed interests, that is, creditors.

Linda McQuaig, Shooting the Hippo, 1996

A tight-money policy reinforces inequality in two ways. Its high interest rates disproportionately reward the rich, and the resulting unemployment disproportionately punishes the poor.

Linda McQuaig, Shooting the Hippo, 1996

No politician can praise unemployment or inflation, and there is no way of combining high employment with stable prices that does not involve some control of income and prices. Otherwise the struggle for more consumption and more income to sustain it—a struggle that modern corporations, modern unions and modern democracy all facilitate and encourage—will drive up prices. Only heavy unemployment will then temper this upward thrust. Not many wish to confront the truth that the modern economy gives a choice only between inflation, unemployment, or controls.

John Kenneth Galbraith, The Age of Uncertainty, 1977

For many Americans business is the business of life. It is also the romance of life. We shall admire or deplore this spirit, accordingly as we are glad to see trade irradiated with so much poetry, or sorry to see so much poetry wasted on trade. But it does make many people happy, like any other hobby; and one is disposed to add that it does fill their imaginations like any other delusion. For the true criticism of all this commercial romance would involve a criticism of this historic phase of commerce. These people are building on sand, though it shines like gold, and for them like fairy gold. Half the financial operations they follow deal with things that do not even exist; for in that sense all finance is a fairy tale. Many of them are buying and selling things that do nothing but harm; but it does them good to buy and sell them... Business really is romance; for it is not reality.

G. K. Chesterton, What I Saw in America, 1922

Growth is the mantra of our society because the economy can’t remain healthy without growth.

Impregnable monopolies aside (and these are few), profits are both the hallmark of capitalism and its Achilles’ heel, for no business can permanently maintain its prices much above its costs. There is only one way in which profits can be perpetuated; a business—or an entire economy—must grow.

Robert L. Heilbroner, The Worldly Philosophers, 1961

As we slide into the first recession of the 21st century (the experts being in denial, as always), it is timely to reflect on its causes. First and foremost is the underlying debt which a modern economy is obliged to incur in order to grow. Sooner or later, depending on credit conditions and interest rates, that debt becomes unsustainable and must be repudiated.

David Gracey, Economic Reform, April 2001

Capitalism is the only society in human history in which neither tradition nor conscious direction supervises the total effort of the community; it is the only society in which the future, the needs for tomorrow, are entirely left to an automatic system.

Robert L. Heilbroner, The Worldly Philosophers, 1961

Capitalism is chronically unstable.

Boom and bust has always marked capitalism in the United States. There were panics in 1785, 1791, 1819, 1857, 1869, 1873, 1907, 1929 and 1987.

In economies and politics, as in war, an astonishing number of people die, like the man on the railway crossing, defending their right of way. This is a poorly developed instinct in Switzerland. No country so firmly avows the principles of private enterprise but in few have the practical concessions to socialism been more numerous and varied.

John Kenneth Galbraith, The Age of Uncertainty, 1977

In our society competitive capitalism has put family life and working life on a collision course.

In Canada statistics show that over 70 percent of the burden of caring for children, the aged, the disabled and the sick falls on women most of whom receive no pay for these very essential tasks.

Normally speaking, it may be said that the forces of capitalism, if left unchecked, tend to make the rich richer and the poor poorer and thus increase the gap between them.

Jawaharlal Nehru

Even at capitalism’s best—when the rich grow richer but even the poor grow richer too—the rich grow richer faster than the poor and the distribution of income grows worse and with it the ability of the least fortunate to pay the prices.

William F. Hixson, It’s Your Money, 1997

The free market is notorious for distributing resources in a highly unequal manner, with great concentrations of wealth at the top and poverty at the bottom. Our social programs, modest compared to those of many other Western countries, play an important role in redistributing some of those resources from the haves to the have-nots.

Linda McQuaig, Shooting the Hippo, 1996

The total dividend income declared in 1995 by the bottom 9.7 million Canadian tax-filers (47% of all those submitting tax returns) was $310 million. The estimated dividend income received by the Thomson family in 1995 from its 72% ownership share of the Thomson Corporation and its 22% ownership share of the Hudson’s Bay Company was $310 million.

Jim Stanford, Paper Boom, 1999

Under capitalism the more money you have, the easier it is to make money, and the less money you have, the harder.

Wherever there is great property there is great inequality. The affluence of the rich supposes the indigence of the many.

Adam Smith

The financial wealth of the top 1 percent of households [in the U.S.] exceeds the combined wealth of the bottom 95 percent.

Ralph Nader

The richest 20 percent of humanity owns 85 percent of the total global wealth, and the poorest 20 percent owns 1.4 percent. The combined worth of 358 individuals around the world who have assets in excess of one billion amounts to 45 percent of the combined annual income of all the world’s people.

Today, you have 20 percent of the world controlling 80 percent of the Gross Domestic Product; you’ve got a $30 trillion (US) world economy, and $24 trillion of it is in the developed countries... These inequities can’t exist. So if you are talking about systemic breakdown, I think you have to look in terms of social breakdown.

James Wolfensohn President of the World Bank

No solution [to the problem of poverty] is so effective as providing income to the poor. Whether in the form of food, housing, health services, education or money, income is an excellent antidote for deprivation. No truth has spawned so much ingenious evasion.

John Kenneth Galbraith, The Age of Uncertainty, 1977

We can have democracy in this country or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.

Justice Louis D. Brandeis

The ideal of a perfectly functioning democracy is one person, one vote; the ideal of a perfectly functioning market is one dollar, one vote.

It’s a hoary superstition that democratically elected governments invariably function as instruments of the collective will.

A society in which consumption has to be artificially stimulated in order to keep production going is a society founded on trash and waste.

Dorothy L. Sayers

According to the International Institute for Environment and Development, the annual amount spent globally on advertising aimed at increasing consumption topped $430 billion in 1998.

Consumer capitalism is dedicated to the proposition that production is good in itself, no matter what is produced. The net effect is the massive production of absurd, empty and useless items which are nevertheless utterly serious since we earn our living from them, and dedicate our leisure time to them.

Jacques Ellul

There is hardly anything in the world that some man can’t make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price only are this man’s lawful prey.

John Ruskin

Debt economies create a bias in favour of cheap goods.

To be happy you need community, authenticity, and energy. Unfortunately...

Intense economic activity often ruins many other good things, and tends to corrupt other values.

The logic of consumerism and the growth economy destroys culture.

Increasingly universities are being forced to see themselves as engines of economic growth or re-training centres for a work force made obsolete by every new technological innovation.

Wayne Roberts

A commercial civilization is money-oriented, profit-oriented. Commercial values always tend to wrench a society free of tradition.

Economics from education to public service is being reorganized on the self-destructive basis of self-interest.

John Ralston Saul

We believe in money.

Eric Kierans, Remembering, 2001

The great fact of the twentieth century is the definite emergence of a new type of civilisation different from anything that the world has known up until now. Sometimes called ‘mass-civilisation’ it is not so much civilisation of the masses as civilisation in which every side of human life is subordinated to the requirements of large economic blocks. The population itself changes not only its culture, but even its racial composition in obedience to the demands of these economic interests. If a person is to enjoy the material benefits of mass-civilisation, they must put aside their individuality and conform to standardised patterns of thought and conduct, even extending down to details of taste and personal habit. The person who rejects standardization and refuses to conform will pay a terrible price. In the mass state humanity has become the servant of the economic interests of a few people.

Christopher Dawson

Conflict or competition carried to an extreme will tend to produce sameness on all sides. A single inexorable logic will finally reduce everything to the same terms.

René Girard

A human being has a right and a duty to preserve his individuality from forces attempting to absorb it and reduce it to type.

Each of us has the right to choose the life we lead.

What counts in a market-intensive society is not the effort to please or the pleasure that flows from that effort, but the coupling of labour with capital, however useless or damaging the result.

It used to be that economic activity was a means to an end, the end being the enjoyment of life. Now we are forced to dedicate our lives to the service of the economy.

To be ignorant or unconvinced of one’s own needs has become the unforgivable anti-social act. The good citizen is one who imputes standardized needs to himself with such conviction that he drowns out any desire for alternatives, much less the renunciation of need.

Ivan Illich

Economic growth has no limits. If you hear anyone tell you that there’s a limit to growth, they’re wrong and we should avoid those kinds of people. That’s why we’re so successful in the Conservative government.

Deputy Economic Minister under Mulroney

The reward of commercial civilization is the ability to consume a never-ending array of products.

There are limits beyond which commodities cannot be multiplied without preventing their consumers from affirming themselves through the exercise of their personal freedom.

When market dependence reaches a certain threshold it deprives people of their power to live creatively and to act autonomously. And precisely because this new impotence is so deeply experienced, it is expressed with difficulty.

Childless couples and people with smaller families consume more than people with larger families. The reason for this is childless couples have nothing to do. They spend their lives trying to think of things to spend their money on.

The work and spend cycle is draining our energy.

Can anything be so elegant as to have few wants, and to serve them one’s self?

Ralph Waldo Emerson

In the twentieth century we increasingly look to work to answer the question of identity.

Work is the essence of who I am.

Carol Heilbroner

A lot of jobs don’t allow you to be who you are.

There is dignity in work only when it is work freely accepted.

Albert Camus

Most jobs are boring and of little intrinsic value. For every job that improves the lot of humanity and makes the world a better or more interesting place to live in, there are scores that do nothing of the sort.

Pierre Home-Douglas

That state is a state of slavery in which a man does what he likes to do in his spare time and in his working time that which is required of him.

Eric Gill

Losses of a kind of satisfaction that have no market equivalent don’t show up in the calculations of economists.

Ivan Illich

I think that there is nothing, not even crime, more opposed to poetry; to philosophy, ay, to life itself than this incessant business.

Henry David Thoreau

Extreme busyness, whether at school or college, kirk or market, is a symptom of deficient vitality; and a faculty for idleness implies a catholic appetite and a strong sense of personal identity.

Robert Louis Stevenson

People in a hurry cannot think, cannot grow, nor can they decay. They are preserved in a state of perpetual puerility.

Eric Hoffer

Currency speculation—over a trillion dollars a day—is a tax-free activity.

The notion of a tax on “day trades” or other speculative swaps was revived in recent years, but has been studiously ignored by all our purveyors of conventional economic wisdom. That is because we have been persuaded, against logic, and moral sense, that the institution that most needs our support these days is not society, nor the human community, but the global corporation.

Eric Kierans, Remembering, 2001

Corporations have nothing to do with values, and they know it, and sometimes say it.

Eric Kierans, Remembering, 2001

There is one and only one social responsibility of business—to use its resources and engage in activities designed to improve its profits so long as it stays within the rules of the game, which is to say, engages in open and free competition, without deception and fraud.

Milton Friedman

Social needs don’t feature in contemporary economic theory.

The hand that gives is above the hand that takes. Money has no motherland; financiers are without patriotism and without decency; their sole object is gain.


Capital in money form has no citizenship. It is fungible, an asset capable of moving from place to place in a nanosecond.

Eric Kierans, Remembering, 2001

Just as plants suck up moisture from the earth, so do corporations draw out and drain the surpluses inherent in the contributions of labour and the resources of nature. The corporate invader’s primary objective is to increase its own wealth and assets, not the level of community income.

Eric Kierans, Remembering, 2001

People of the same trade seldom meet together but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some diversion to raise prices.

Adam Smith

Very few of the heroes of the Golden Age of American finance had much interest in the solid realities of what underlay their structure of stocks and bonds and credits. Later on, a Henry Ford might introduce an era of intensely production-minded captains of industry, but the Harrimans, Morgans, Fricks, and Rockefellers were far more interested in the exciting manipulation of huge masses of intangible wealth than in the humdrum business of turning out goods.

Robert L. Heilbroner, The Worldly Philosophers, 1961

Capital movements are no longer necessarily related to the production of goods and services. Through the financial markets of the world, capital movements today are overwhelmingly concerned with the capture of and trade in property rights, the ownership of assets that magnify a corporation’s wealth, power, and control. It is what John Maynard Keynes described as “a casino world”—wealth without worth.

Eric Kierans, Remembering, 2001

This is the standard procedure for corporate growth these days; one company buys up another on loans that are floated on the basis of future earnings, and the monopoly or oligopoly created in this way produces the necessary funds by squeezing out competition, and passing the costs along to the consumer. The bucket that holds the new wealth is called a corporation.

Eric Kierans, Remembering, 2001

The big corporation is not in the least remarkable for efficiency; it is only too big to be blamed for its inefficiency.

G. K. Chesterton, What I Saw in America, 1922

A criminal is a person with predatory instincts who has not sufficient capital to form a corporation.

Most government is by the rich for the rich.

Government comprises a large part of the organized injustice in any society, ancient or modern.

Civil government, insofar as it is instituted for the security of property, is in reality instituted for the defence of the rich against the poor, and for the defence of those who have property against those who have none.

Adam Smith

I work for a Government I despise for ends I think criminal.

John Maynard Keynes

Few [economic problems], if any, are difficult of solution. The difficulty, all but invariably, is in confronting them. We know what needs to be done; for reasons of inertia, pecuniary interest, passion or ignorance, we do not wish to say so.

John Kenneth Galbraith, The Age of Uncertainty, 1977

For society to function some kind of reasonable balance has to be stuck between the competing interests of creditors and debtors. Although the mandate of the Bank of Canada was to maintain a delicate balance between encouraging growth and fighting inflation, the Bank opted to focus exclusively on fighting inflation. In doing so it came down heavily in favour of those with financial assets to protect, and against those whose primary need was employment.

Linda McQuaig, Shooting the Hippo, 1996

Economics is really politics in disguise.

Hazel Henderson

The war [World War II] revealed two of the enduring features of the Keynesian Revolution. One was the moral difference between spending for welfare and spending for war. During the Depression very modest outlays for the unemployed seemed socially debilitating, economically unsound. Now expenditures many times greater for weapons and soldiers were perfectly safe. It’s a difference that still persists.

John Kenneth Galbraith, The Age of Uncertainty, 1977

If you want poor people to work you restore their incentive by giving them less, such as by cutting social services. If you want rich people to work you restore their incentive by giving them more, such as by cutting taxes.

Jim Stanford, Paper Boom, 1999

Government’s motto often seems to be, “To them that hath it shall be given.”

William F. Hixson, It’s Your Money, 1997

The statement, “The debt problem has become so extreme that we have no choice but to cut social spending” is presented as an objective assessment of our situation. But can you imagine a media commentator making the following assertion? “The debt problem has become so extreme that we have no choice but to raise taxes on the rich.”

Linda McQuaig, Shooting the Hippo, 1996

Governments last as long as the under-taxed can defend themselves against the over-taxed.

Bernard Berenson

One of the myths of the modern world is that if there are no barriers between nations they are going to get along.

By doing away with borders we are creating more and more the conditions of violence because borders contain and limit violence.

René Girard

When the world is globalized you’re going to set fire to the whole thing with one match.

René Girard

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