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Quotations referenced across the site sorted by date of post (descending). Click on the (light-blue) link(s) above the quotation to view the quotation within the context of an article. Quotations without links are pending for articles yet-to-be-published. Click here for a simple alphabetical listing of quotations

[We suffer from] a confusion of ideas about what people need to know. ...We cannot get out of the dilemma by:

(1) making a great effort to educate everyone to the point where they know enough to make these [business] decisions, nor
(2) by restricting participation to the people who do know about all these [business] matters.

No one [person] knows enough ... to run the [business]. People are able to survive ... by learning to distinguish between what they must know and what they do not need to know. ... This is a problem of leadership, organization, alternatives and systems of responsibility and confidence. E. E. Schattschneider (1960). The Semisovereign People


Since there have been thousands of utopian, cooperative+, and other experimental organizational forms in American economic history, we would expect that many should survive in competition with the traditional firm. They haven't ... there were fundamental transaction cost problems impeding the survival of such non-authoritarian forms of organization. Douglass C. North (1981). Structure and Change in Economic History, W W Norton & Company, New York-London, p. 38.

Over long periods of time, small differences in rates of productivity growth compound, like interest in a bank account, and can make an enormous difference to a society's prosperity. Nothing contributes more to reduction of poverty, to increases in leisure, and to the country's ability to finance education, public health, environment and the arts. Alan Blinder and William Baumol (1993). Economics: Principles and Policy, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, San Diego, p. 778.

Public management is not an arena in which to find Big Answers; it is a world of settled institutions designed to allow imperfect people to use flawed procedures to cope with insoluble problems. James Q. Wilson (1989). Bureaucracy

...as a man's income increases, so the sacrifice of risk-taking becomes less as his capital becomes greater ... The sacrifice of a laboring man in saving a hundred dollars from his year's income is apt to be very great. There is therefore, need of a large reward to make him willing to undergo the sacrifice Allan H. Willett (1902). The Economic Theory Of Risk And Insurance

You can’t fix stupid White, Ron (2006). I had the right to remain silent – but I didn’t have the ability.

A political entrepreneur is an individual who seeks political and social gains in return for providing public goods to the unorganized general public. Public goods provided ... include foreign- and domestic-public policy changes, while the benefits the entrepreneur hopes to gain include voter support, public recognition, and personal popularity. Choi, Taewook (2004) "Promoting a Northeast Asia Economic Integration Policy", Korea Focus, May-April, 2004, vol. 12, no. 2. The quotation has been paraphrased for the sake of clarity.

Perhaps the fact that we have seen millions voting themselves into complete dependence on a tyrant has made our generation understand that to choose one's government is not necessarily to secure freedom. von Hayek, Friedrich August (1960). The Constitution of Liberty

Put all your eggs in one basket and watch that basket. Twain, Mark (1894). The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson

[In their 1985 quest to attract funding for new biotech research] a handful of venture capitalists … hit upon the idea that scientific accomplishment could be a marker. [They secured] milestone payments from large pharmaceutical partners in exchange for showing progress toward agreed [research] goals, thus obtaining funding. Researchers [in the ventures] began publishing in top journals, proving that the academic coin of the realm … could be deployed to attract new sources of funding. Powell, Walter W. & Sandholtz, Kurt (2011). Chance, Nécessité, et Naïveté: Ingredients to create a new organizational form