Quotes on Poetry and Economics

“In science one tries to tell people, in such a way as to be understood by everyone, something that no one ever knew before. But in poetry, it’s the exact opposite.” — Paul Dirac

“Letting a hundred flowers blossom and a hundred schools of thought contend is the policy for promoting the progress of the arts and the sciences.” — Mao Tse-Tung, 1957

“A poem is never finished, only abandoned.” — Paul Valery, on working paper series

“When ideas fail, words come in very handy.” — Goethe, on writing introductions to papers

“From the moment I picked your book up until I laid it down I was convulsed with laughter. Some day I intend reading it.” — Groucho Marx, on being a journal editor

“Man will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time he will pick himself up and continue on.” — Sir Winston Churchill, on the scientific method

“The average man’s opinions are much less foolish than they would be if he thought for himself.” — Bertrand Russell, on informational herding

“Anyone who considers arithmetical methods of producing random digits is, of course, in a state of sin.” — John von Neumann

“That’s trivial, you know. That’s just a fixed point theorem.” — John von Neumann, on PhD-thesis advising¬†(told to Nash, after being explained his new equilibrium concept; see Sylvia Nasar’s book)

“Nobody goes there anymore; it’s too crowded.” — Yogi Berra, on externalities

“People who work sitting down get paid more than people who work standing up.” — Ogden Nash, on labour economics

“A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend upon the support of Paul.”
— George Bernard Shaw, on political economy

“Give me better wood, and I’ll build you a better cabinet.”
— Sir John A. Macdonald (first Prime Minister of Canada), on organization theory

“A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon it adds up to real money.”
— Senator Everett Dirksen, on public finance

“Young men should prove theorems, old men should write books.”
— G.H. Hardy, in A Mathematician’s Apology, on Pareto optimality

“Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practise to deceive!”
— Sir Walter Scott, on mechanism design

“Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans.”
— John Lennon, on decision theory

“I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken”
— Oliver Cromwell, on zero chance events
[spoken in 1650 to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland]

“I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.”
— Mark Twain, on labour economics [more recently, Max Amarante]

“All paid jobs absorb and degrade the mind.” — Aristotle, on labour economics

“Wit is educated insolence.” — Aristotle, on his days at the Academy

“University politics are vicious precisely because the stakes are so small.”
— Henry Kissinger, on junior hiring

“A narcissist is someone better looking than you are.” — Gore Vidal, on psychology

“Three o’clock is always too late or too early for anything you want to do.”
— Jean-Paul Sartre, on class scheduling

“Are they as successful as who, Microsoft? Only drug lords from South America are as successful as Microsoft.”
— stolen, on network versus traditional monopoly theory

” We have slain a large dragon, but we now live in a jungle filled with a bewildering variety of poisonous snakes.”
— James Woolsey (1993), former CIA director, on the winner’s curse

(Prisoner) “What do you want?”
( #2) “Information.”
(P) “Whose side are you on?”
(#2) “That would be telling. We want information … information…information…”
— The Prisoner (1967 Sci-Fi TV series), on setting exams