Economics

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The purpose of studying economics is not to acquire a set of ready-made answers to economic questions, but to learn how to avoid being deceived by economists. ~ Joan Robinson.

Economics is the social science that studies the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. The term economics comes from the Greek for oikos (house) and nomos (custom or law), hence "rules of the house(hold).

Alphabetized by author or source:
A · B · C · D · E · F · G · H · I · J · K · L · M · N · O · P · Q · R · S · T · U · V · W · X · Y · Z · Anon · See also · External links

A[edit]

  • In fact, without any exaggeration, the current mechanism of money creation through credit is certainly the "cancer" that's irretrievably eroding market economies of private property.
    • Maurice Allais, in La Crise mondiale d'aujourd'hui. Pour de profondes réformes des institutions financières et monétaires (1999), p. 74

B[edit]

  • The dictionary defines "economics" as "a social science concerned chiefly with description and analysis of the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services." Here is another definition of economics which I think is more helpful in explaining how economics relates to software engineering.
Economics is the study of how people make decisions in resource-limited situations.
This definition of economics fits the major branches of classical economics very well.
Macroeconomics is the study of how people make decisions in resource-limited situations on a national or global scale. It deals with the effects of decisions that national leaders make on such issues as tax rates, interest rates, foreign and trade policy.
Microeconomics is the study of how people make decisions in resource-limited situations on a more personal scale. It deals with the decisions that individuals and organizations make on such issues such as how much insurance to buy, which word processor to buy, or what prices to charge for their products or services.
  • Barry Boehm "Software engineering economics." Software Engineering, IEEE Transactions on 1 (1984): 4-21. p. 4.
  • Anyone who believes exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or an economist.
    • Kenneth Boulding, "The Economics of the Coming Spaceship Earth" (1966), in Victor D. Lippit, ed., Radical Political Economy, Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe. p 362.
  • The president, the secretary of state, the businessman, the preacher, the vendor, the spies, the clients and managers—all walking around Wall Street like chickens with their heads cut off—rushing to escape bankruptcy—plotting to melt down the Statue of Liberty—to press more copper pennies—to breed more headless chickens—to put more feathers in their caps—medals, diplomas, stock certificates, honorary doctorates—eggs and eggs of headless chickens—multitaskers—system hackers—who never know where they’re heading--northward, backward, eastward, forward, and never homeward—(where is home)—home is in the head—(but the head is cut off)... Beheaded chickens, how do you breed chickens with their heads cut off? By teaching them how to bankrupt creativity.”

C[edit]

95% of Economics is common sense deliberately made complicated. ~ Ha-Joon Chang
If economists wished to study the horse, they wouldn't go and look at horses. They'd sit in their studies and say to themselves, "what would I do if I were a horse?" ~ Ronald Coase
In my youth it was said that what was too silly to be said may be sung. In modern economics it may be put into mathematics. ~ Ronald Coase
  • Emas non quod non opus est, sed quod necesse est. Quod non opus est, asse carum est.
    • Buy not what you want, but what you have need of; what you do not want is dear at a farthing.
    • Cato; as quoted by Seneca the Younger, Epistles, 94. Reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 216.
  • 95% of Economics is common sense deliberately made complicated.
    • Ha-Joon Chang, in a lecture at the RSA about his book 23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism, September 2010.
  • The more opportunities there are in a Society for some persons to live upon the toil of others, and the less those others may enjoy the fruits of their work themselves, the more is diligence killed, the former become insolent, the latter despairin g, and both negligent.
  • Magnum vectigal est parsimonia.
    • Economy is a great revenue.
    • Cicero, Paradoxa, VI. 3. 49. Reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 216.
  • If economists wished to study the horse, they wouldn't go and look at horses. They'd sit in their studies and say to themselves, "what would I do if I were a horse?"
    • Ronald Coase, in a speech to the "International Society of New Institutional Economics" the 17 September 1999, Washington DC. He claims he was quoting fellow economist Ely Devons which reportedly said this in a meeting.
  • In my youth it was said that what was too silly to be said may be sung. In modern economics it may be put into mathematics.
    • Ronald Coase, The firm, the market and the law (1988) Chapter 6. A remark on "The problem of social cost" (last sentence).

D[edit]

  • Capitalism is the exploitation of man by man. Yes? Well socialism is exactly the reverse.
    • Len Deighton, Funeral in Berlin (1964; repr. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1966) p. 145
    • Described there as a joke current in 1960s Czechoslovakia.
  • So-called macroeconomics has never been real economics but rather an endless series of engineering-type models purporting to guide politicians in centrally planning an economy. In the bizarro world of macroeconomics all capital is the same, and all workers are the same, as one big lump, expressed as 'K' and 'L' in the models. Relative prices and their role in allocating resources in a market economy are mostly ignored, while 'economic aggregates' are said to influence 'the' price level.
    In macroeconomics it is taken as a given that markets are incapable of allocating resources in an acceptable way; that's why there is supposedly a need for macroeconomic central planning in the first place. No such 'failures' are assumed on the part of the macroeconomic central planners.

E[edit]

  • Money, which represents the prose of life, and which is hardly spoken of in parlors without an apology, is, in its effects and laws, as beautiful as roses.
    • Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essays: Second Series (1844).

F[edit]

  • A penny saved is two pence clear,
    A pin a day's a groat a year.
    • Benjamin Franklin, Necessary Hints to those that would be Rich. Reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 216.
  • Many have been ruined by buying good Pennyworths.
    • Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanac. Reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 216.
  • The great virtue of a free market system is that it does not care what color people are; it does not care what their religion is; it only cares whether they can produce something you want to buy. It is the most effective system we have discovered to enable people who hate one another to deal with one another and help one another.

G[edit]

  • Cut my cote after my cloth.
    • Godly Queene Hester, Interlude (1530). Expression said to be a relic of the Sumptuary Laws. Reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 216.
  • Presented with the prospect of its own eternity, capitalism-or anyway, financial capitalism-simply explodes. Because if there's no end to it, there's absolutely no reason not to generate credit-that is, future money-infinitely. Recent events would certainly seem to confirm this. The period leading up to 2008 was one in which many began to believe that capitalism really was going to be around forever; at the very least, no one seemed any longer to be able to imagine an alternative. The immediate effect was a series of increasingly reckless bubbles that brought the whole apparatus crashing down.

H[edit]

  • The calculations and models are every day a confirmation, beyond the academic libraries and government dossiers, of the utopia of political reaction.
  • Economics is more disciplinary than any other discipline, and it has been ever since its origins.
  • The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design.
    • Friedrich Hayek, The Fatal Conceit : The Errors of Socialism (1988), p. 76.
  • Give not Saint Peter so much, to leave Saint Paul nothing.
    • George Herbert, Jacula Prudentum (1651). Reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 216.
  • Serviet eternum qui parvo nesciet uti.
    • He will always be a slave, who does not know how to live upon a little.
    • Horace, Epistles, I. 10. 41. Reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 216.
  • If one's point of view is that of the anarchist, he is led inevitably to make his war upon individuals. The more sensitive and sincere he is, the more bitter and implacable becomes that war. If one's point of view is based on what is now called the economic interpretation of history, one is emancipated, in so far as that is possible for emotional beings, from all hatred of individuals, and one sees before him only the necessity of readjusting the economic basis of our common life in order to achieve a more nearly perfect social order.
  • Without question, the causes, which produce on the one hand long hours and overemployment, result on the other hand in short periods of work, underemployment, or unemployment.

L[edit]

M[edit]

It is no coincidence that the novel and economics science were born at the same time. Economists are tellers of stories and makers of poems. ~ Donald McClouskey
  • Economists are tellers of stories and makers of poems.
    • Donald McClouskey, Storytelling in Economics (1990).
  • It is no coincidence that the novel and economics science were born at the same time.
    • Donald McClouskey, Storytelling in Economics (1990).
  • To have peace and not war, the drift toward a war economy, as facilitated by the moves and the demands of the sophisticated conservatives, must be stopped; to have peace without slump, the tactics and policies of the practical right must be overcome. The political and economic power of both must be broken. The power of these giants of main drift is both economically and politically anchored; both unions and an independent labor party are needed to struggle effective.
  • In the United States… a handful of corporations centralize decisions and responsibilities that are relevant for military and political as well as economic developments of global significance. For nowadays the military and the political cannot be separated from economic considerations of power. We now live not in an economic order or a political order, but in a political economy that is closely linked with military institutions and decisions. This is obvious in the repeated "oil crisis" in the Middle East, or in the relevance of Southeast Asia and African resources for the Western powers…
  • What the main drift of the twentieth century has revealed is that the economy has become concentrated and incorporated in the great hierarchies, the military has become enlarged and decisive to the shape of the entire economic structure; and moreover the economic and the military have become structurally and deeply interrelated, as the economy has become a seemingly permanent war economy; and military men and policies have increasingly penetrated the corporate economy.
  • For the corporation executives, the military metaphysic often coincides with their interest in a stable and planned flow of profit; it enables them to have their risk underwritten by public money; it enables them reasonably to expect that they can exploit for private profit now and later, the risky research developments paid for by public money. It is, in brief, a mask of the subsidized capitalism from which they extract profit and upon which their power is based.

O[edit]

P[edit]

  • Even if the days of 1928 and early 1929 could be brought back again, the economic situation would be utterly indefensible on moral grounds. The greedy scramble for private gain and special privilege, the gambling spirit and the ruthless determination to gain wealth by means fair and foul, the callous indifference to how the other half lived or at most the throwing of a few crumbs of philanthropy, the bitter exploitation of the weak and the brutal suppression of the workers as they attempted to organize in defense of their minimum rights, the cruel assumption that there must always be a wide gulf between the rich and the poor, the willingness to send unnumbered victims to their doom on the battlefield in defense of vested interests—all these and countless other evils are inherent in the economic order which held sway in 1929. God forbid that we should have any desire to return to that living hell!
  • In three ways unemployment would be reduced. First... by greater equalization of purchasing power and consequent stimulus in the form of effective demand. Second, by utilizing the national credit and socialized industries for the creation of new industries and the extension of existing ones. ...Social ownership and operation of the basic industries, and especially socialized banking and credit, would greatly facilitate the task of shifting the masses of unemployed into productive channels. Third, if necessary, by shortening working hours and dividing the available work among all the people.
  • The consolidation of financial and industrial power in the hands of a small section of the people leads inevitably to more and more intense congestion of money.
    • Kirby Page, Property (1935).
  • To balance Fortune by a just expense,
    Join with Economy, Magnificence.
    • Alexander Pope, Moral Essays (1731-35), Epistle III, line 223. Reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 216.

Q[edit]

R[edit]

  • By robbing Peter he paid Paul, he kept the moon from the wolves, and was ready to catch larks if ever the heavens should fall.
    • François Rabelais, Works, Book I, Chapter XI. Robbing Peter to pay Paul. Westminster Abbey was called St. Peter's! St. Paul's funds were low and sufficient was taken from St. Peter's to settle the account. Expression found in Collier's Reprint of Thomas Nash, Have with you to Saffron-Walden, p. 9. Reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 216.
  • The purpose of studying economics is not to acquire a set of ready-made answers to economic questions, but to learn how to avoid being deceived by economists.
    • Joan Robinson, “Marx, Marshall And Keynes” (1955), Occasional Paper No. 9, The Delhi School of Economics, University Of Delhi, Delhi.
  • The first theory is that if we make the rich richer, somehow they will let a part of their prosperity trickle down to the rest of us. The second theory … was the theory that if we make the average of mankind comfortable and secure, their prosperity will rise upward … through the ranks.
    • Franklin D. Roosevelt, campaign address, Detroit, Michigan (October 2, 1932); in The Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1928–1932 (1938), p. 772.
  • Too often in recent history liberal governments have been wrecked on rocks of loose fiscal policy.
    • Franklin Delano Roosevelt, request to Congress to effect drastic economies in the government (March 10, 1933); in The Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1933 (1938), p. 50.
  • It is no crime to be ignorant of economics, which is, after all, a specialized discipline and one that most people consider to be a 'dismal science.' But it is totally irresponsible to have a loud and vociferous opinion on economic subjects while remaining in this state of ignorance.

S[edit]

  • Sera parsimonia in fundo est.
    • Frugality, when all is spent, comes too late.
    • Seneca the Younger, Epistolæ Ad Lucilium, I. Reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 216.
  • Have more than thou showest,
    Speak less than thou knowest,
    Lend less than thou owest,
    Ride more than thou goest,
    Learn more than thou trowest,
    Set less than thou throwest.
    • William Shakespeare, King Lear (1608), Act I, scene 4, line 131. Reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 216.
  • Civil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is in reality instituted for the defense of the rich against the poor, or of those who have some property against those who have none at all.
  • The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable.
  • Another difference between Milton and myself is that everything reminds Milton of the money supply. Well, everything reminds me of sex, but I keep it out of the paper.
    • Robert Solow, on Milton Friedman's ideas and his own, in a series of papers at a 1966 conference, also published in ‪Price Controls‬ (1992) by Hugh Rockoff; also widely paraphrased as "Everything reminds Milton Friedman of the money supply. Everything reminds me of sex, but I try to keep it out of my papers".
  • Economics is not simply a topic on which to express opinions or vent emotions. It is a systematic study of what happens when you do specific things in specific ways. In economic analysis, the methods used by a Marxist economist like Oskar Lange did not differ in any fundamental way from the methods used by a conservative economist like Milton Friedman.

T[edit]

No one expect other people in other disciplines to predict the future. But somehow economics takes this burden, that people in economics are supposed to be able to forecast the future. ~ Timothy Taylor
  • This is really odd that economists are expected to predict the future, because no on expect other people in other disciplines to predict the future. Nobody says to the biologists: What is the next stage in evolution? If you can't expect the next stage in evolution... well I guess biology just isn't a science and, that no one should listen to you. Nobody says to the political scientist: Well... you know, who is going to win the next election? If you can't tell me now, then I guess, you know, political science does not mean anything. But somehow economics takes this burden, that people in economics are supposed to be able to forecast the future.
    • Timothy Taylor, in Economics, 3rd Edition (The Great Courses) (2008), Chapter 1: "How Economists Think."
  • Economy, the poor man's mint.
    • Martin Farquhar Tupper, Proverbial Philosophy, Of Society, line 191. Reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 216.

Y[edit]

  • Bernard: I don't think Sir Humphrey understands economics, Prime Minister; he did read Classics, you know.
    Jim Hacker: What about Sir Frank? He's head of the Treasury!
    Bernard: Well I'm afraid he's at an even greater disadvantage in understanding economics: he's an economist.

Anonymous[edit]

  • Capitalism is the exploitation of man by man; Communism is the exact opposite.
    • A satirical definition that, according to Steven Pinker, was "the common definition [in the Soviet Union] of the two Cold War ideologies".
    • Pinker, Steven, The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (N.Y.: Viking, hardback 2011 (ISBN 978-0-670-02295-3)), p. 634.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

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