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Quotes on Economic Sanity

[COMMENT:  The quotes below were taken from the August 2008 edition of Summit Journal (http://www.summit.org/   Go to "Resources" and click on The Journal, or one of the choices at the bottom of the rectangle for a pdf copy.)    E. Fox]

“You have to choose between trusting to the natural stability of gold and the natural stability of the honesty and intelligence of the members of the government. And, with due respect to these gentlemen, I advise you, as long as the capitalist system lasts, vote for gold.”    ----    —George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)

q “Destroyers seize gold and leave to its owner a counterfeit pile of paper. This kills all objective standards and delivers men into its arbitrary power of an arbitrary setter of values. Gold was an objective value, an equivalent of wealth produced. Paper is a mortgage on wealth that does not exist, backed by a gun aimed at those who are expected to produce it.”   ---   —Ayn Rand

q “‘The silver is mine, and the gold is mine,’ says the LORD of hosts.”   ---   —Haggai 2:8

q “By a continuous process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens. The process engages all of the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and  does it in a manner that not one man in a million can diagnose.”    ---   —John Maynard Keynes

q “In a concluding essay [in the book Lessons From the Poor edited by Alvaro Llosa], Joshua C. Hall and Russell S. Sobel write, ‘Entrepreneurship is the catalyst for economic growth and progress.’ Note, the catalyst, not a catalyst. They continue, ‘A primary determinant of entrepreneurship is economic freedom.’ I hate to sound like a global-warming hard-liner, but the case is closed—or pretty much so. There is scarcely any need for extended debate. We know what works in defeating poverty: entrepreneurship, the rule of law, transparency in government, low taxation, light regulation, a disinterested judiciary—freedom. “If that is so, why do socialists and kleptocrats do so well at ballot boxes, even when the elections are fair? Well, as Jeane Kirkpatrick once explained—to an exasperated and inquiring Bill Buckley on Firing Line—the rhetoric of socialism and collectivism can be stronger than the rhetoric of economic freedom. More alluring. And it is certainly more easily mixed with demagoguery. In addition, people may shy from entrepreneurship, even from opportunity. Thomas Edison once said, ‘Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.’”    ---   —National Review, June 30, 2008, p. 51 

Happiness and Economics:

q “There are three basic things that make people happy: meaning in their lives, control over their environment, and success in creating value in the world. And the way people get these things is not with money or power or fame—it is with their values. People who are serious about healthy values in their lives, families, and communities are much happier than others. The data say that these values come in eight categories: faith, family, personal liberty, private morality, non-materialism, opportunity, work, and service to others. Many journalists and academics dismiss these as just ‘cultural issues.’ But what happy Americans know is that nothing is more important than these things for building true happiness.”                 —Arthur C. Brooks, World magazine, May 17/24, 2008, p. 22

q “Faith is an incredible predictor—and cause—of happiness. Religious people of all faiths are much, much happier than secularists, on average. In 2004, 43 percent of those who attended a house of worship at least once a week said they were ‘very happy’ with their lives, versus 23 percent of those who attended seldom or never. The connection between faith and happiness holds regardless of one’s particular religion. One major 2000 survey revealed that observant Christians and Jews, along with members of a great many other religious traditions were all far more likely than secularists to say they were happy.”    —Ibid, p. 23

q “We hear from a lot of politicians these days that income inequality makes us unhappy. This is not correct. What makes people unhappy is the belief that they do not have opportunities to get ahead in life. What they often complain about, however, is income inequality. Studies show that when people feel economically mobile, they actually like income inequality even if they have less than others because it shows them what they can achieve. The irony is that when politicians fight income inequality they often lower economic mobility by wrecking the rewards to hard work. And this makes the real problem worse, not better.”      —Ibid., p. 23

q “I can’t stress enough that according to all the evidence, shooting for affluence or material comforts as a source of happiness is an error. As we see in the life and teachings of Christ and the prophets, happiness comes from an exercise of our good values, including a focus on service to others. Proper values are what bring a happy, well-ordered life. These things also bring prosperity. But to try to get personal happiness from material affluence is like trying to build a tall skyscraper by starting with the top floor.”     —Ibid., p. 23

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Date Posted -  09/07/2008   -   Date Last Edited - 09/15/2012