Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Mind and money

"It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it."
Upton Sinclair

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Hard stuff

Imagine how much harder physics would be if electrons had feelings!
– Richard Feynman, speaking at a Caltech graduation ceremony
(end quote)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Hanging on - hanging in

“I know that most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives.”
- Leo Tolstoy

Friday, June 25, 2010


Ludwig von Mises: "Profit is a product of the mind, of success in anticipating the future state of the market. It is a spiritual and intellectual phenomenon." - Planning for Freedom

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A truth rarely known

" I know of no country in which there is so little independence of mind and real freedom of discussion as in America. "-- Alexis de Tocqueville, 1805 -- 1859, French political thinker and author of Democracy in America

Power of the evil

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." - Edmund Burke

Monday, June 21, 2010

Evil exports

Ludwig von Mises: "It may be safely taken for granted that up to now the natives have learned only evil ways from the Europeans, and not good ones. This is not the fault of the natives, but rather of their European conquerors, who have taught them nothing but evil. They have brought arms and engines of destruction of all kinds to the colonies; they have sent out their worst and most brutal individuals as officials and officers; at the point of the sword they have set up a colonial rule that in its sanguinary cruelty rivals the despotic system of the Bolsheviks." - Liberalism

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

O Lord

When I was twenty years old, and a college student, I defaced a portrait of Chairman Mao. For this act, and without a trial, I was declared a political prisoner and sent to a forced labor prison on Taihu Lake, where I served in a labor reform brigade in a stone quarry for seven years: five years in the labor prison and two years as an ex-prisoner laborer. The tales in this book, transformed by memory, imagination, and time, are based on my experiences in this camp, and are not, I believe, unlike experiences suffered by millions of others who did not live to tell their tales.
~ Xiaoda Xiao

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Being wrong is good for your career as an economist

"... To restart the economy in 1981, Thatcher instituted a fierce attack on the British deficit, coupled with an expansionary monetary policy.  Her moves were immediately condemned by 364 distinguished economists.  In a letter to the Times of London, they wrote a knee-jerk Keynesian (Prof. Krugman-type) response: “Present policies will deepen the depression, erode the industrial base of our economy and threaten its social and political stability.”  Thatcher was quickly vindicated.  No sooner had the 364 affixed their signatures than the economy boomed.  People had confidence in Britain again, and Thatcher was able to introduce a long series of deep free-market reforms.

4 Ps of marketing and innovation

Any marketer can quickly rattle off the so-called "4 Ps" of marketing (product, price, place, and promotion). Innovators should also be able to quickly recite the 4 Ps that capture their idea's potential: population, penetration, price, and purchase frequency.

White and black swans

"A white swan for the butcher is a black swan for the turkey."
Nassim Taleb

Friday, June 11, 2010

Lies and more lies

“[T]he majority of politicians, on the evidence available to us, are interested not in truth but in power and in the maintenance of that power. To maintain that power it is essential that people remain in ignorance, that they live in ignorance of the truth, even the truth of their own lives. What surrounds us therefore is a vast tapestry of lies, upon which we feed.” – Harold Pinter, Nobel Lecture (Literature), 2005

Secular religion

" Patriotism, like religion, meets people's need for something greater to which their individual lives can be anchored ... America's state religion, [is] patriotism, a phenomenon which has convinced many of the citizenry that "treason" is morally worse than murder or rape "-- William Blum, author of Killing Hope