The Best Thing for Being Sad

Photo credit: Anita Jankovic at unsplash.com

Learn something. I don’t know if that’s the answer for everyone but that’s what works for me. You mileage may vary, as they say in the ads for cars. But for the vast majority of the cases, it works. Learn something. The best thing you learn is that you are just fine just as  you are. Continue reading “The Best Thing for Being Sad”

Quotes – Mises

On this day, Sept 29, Ludwig von Mises was born in 1881. Happy Birthday, dear Ludwig.

“He who is unfit to serve his fellow citizens wants to rule them.”
― Ludwig von Mises
Bureaucracy

“All rational action is in the first place individual action. Only the individual thinks. Only the individual reasons. Only the individual acts.”
― Ludwig von Mises
Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis Continue reading “Quotes – Mises”

Economists’ Quotes

About quotations, the German-born American actress Marlene Dietrich said, “I love them, because it is a joy to find thoughts one might have, beautifully expressed with much authority by someone recognizedly wiser than oneself.”

I agree with her. I love quotations and collect them assiduously. They are valuable because they encapsulate ideas and thoughts that I have had but expressed better than I ever can.

Since being an economist is my vocation as well as my avocation, I like to keep bits of writings of real economists. Here are a few that I hope you would like. If you find any of them puzzling, or if they lead you to questions, I’d be happy to expand on them. Feel free to ask me anything. Continue reading “Economists’ Quotes”

Hay You

“The technologies which have had the most profound effects on human life are usually simple. A good example of a simple technology with profound historical consequences is hay. Nobody knows who invented hay, the idea of cutting grass in the autumn and storing it in large enough quantities to keep horses and cows alive through the winter. All we know is that the technology of hay was unknown to the Roman Empire but was known to every village of medieval Europe. Like many other crucially important technologies, hay emerged anonymously during the so-called Dark Ages. According to the Hay Theory of History, the invention of hay was the decisive event which moved the center of gravity of urban civilization from the Mediterranean basin to Northern and Western Europe. The Roman Empire did not need hay because in a Mediterranean climate the grass grows well enough in winter for animals to graze. North of the Alps, great cities dependent on horses and oxen for motive power could not exist without hay. So it was hay that allowed populations to grow and civilizations to flourish among the forests of Northern Europe. Hay moved the greatness of Rome to Paris and London, and later to Berlin and Moscow and New York.” ― Freeman Dyson, Infinite in All Directions 

Continue reading “Hay You”

Danger

American Founding Father, John Adams (1735 – 1826):

“Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.”

American politician, Abraham Lincoln (1809 – 1865):

“From whence shall we expect the approach of danger? Shall some trans-Atlantic military giant step the earth and crush us at a blow? Never. All the armies of Europe and Asia…could not by force take a drink from the Ohio River or make a track on the Blue Ridge in the trial of a thousand years. No, if destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of free men we will live forever or die by suicide.”

English historian, Arnold Toynbee (1889 – 1975):

“Civilizations die from suicide, not by murder.”

French philosopher, Jean-Francois Revel (1924 – 2006):

“Clearly, a civilization that feels guilty for everything it is and does will lack the energy and conviction to defend itself.”

Epictetus the Stoic

Epictetus

Epictetus[1] summarized the Stoic attitude of taking responsibility for what was within one’s control thus: “I must die. If forthwith, I die; and if a little later, I will take lunch now, since the hour for lunch has come, and afterwards I will die at the appointed time.”

Milton Friedman summarized the role of the government thus: Continue reading “Epictetus the Stoic”

Success

“Don’t aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long-run—in the long-run, I say!—success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think about it”

Viktor E. Frankl, (1905 – 1997), Man’s Search for Meaning

In 1991, Man’s Search for Meaning was listed as one of the ten most influential books in the U.S. by respondents in a survey conducted for the Library of Congress and the Book of the Month Club.

Nations Die — Will Durant

“Nations die. Old regions grow arid, or suffer other change. Resilient man picks up his tools and his arts, and moves on, taking his memories with him. If education has deepened and broadened those memories, civilization migrates with him, and builds somewhere another home. In the new land he need not begin entirely anew, nor make his way without friendly aid; communication and transport bind him, as in a nourishing placenta, with his mother country. Rome imported Greek civilization and transmitted it to Western Europe; America profited from European civilization and prepares to pass it on, with a technique of transmission never equaled before.”

Will & Ariel Durant. The Lessons of History (1968). Pg 94.

Bonus: Download the brief book epub, pdf.

On Servitude

To me it appears to be true that servitude of the masses have to be largely voluntary because the serfs always outnumber the masters. Two quotes on servitude follow but first a bonus quote from Ayn Rand.

“A society that robs an individual of the product of his effort, or enslaves him, or attempts to limit the freedom of his mind, or compels him to act against his own rational judgment … is not, strictly speaking, a society, but a mob held together by institutionalized gang-rule.”

Continue reading “On Servitude”

Only Organized Violence Please

People condemn disorganized violence but are filled with pride and honor if violence is organized at the national level and projected internationally. That’s funny. Here’s Armen Alchian (1914-2013) in his book college economics textbook Exchange and Production:

Before condemning violence (physical force) as a means of social control, note that its threatened or actual use is widely practiced and respected—at least when applied successfully on a national scale. Julius Caesar conquered Gaul and was honored by the Romans; had he simply roughed up the local residents, he would have been damned as a gangster. Alexander the Great, who conquered the Near East, was not regarded by the Greeks as a ruffian, nor was Charlemagne after he conquered Europe. Europeans acquired and divided—and redivided—America by force. Lenin is not regarded in Russia as a subversive. Nor is Spain’s Franco, Cuba’s Castro, Nigeria’s Gowon, Uganda’s Amin, China’s Mao, our George Washington.

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