- There's no such thing as a free lunch.
Friedman; recorded in form ‘there ain't no such thing as a free lunch’ from 1938, which gave rise to the acronym tanstaafl in Robert Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress (1966) ch. 11: colloquial axiom in US economics from the 1960s, much associated with Milton
- You shall not press down upon the brow of labour this crown of thorns, you shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold.
opposing the gold standard 1860–1925 American Democratic politician: speech at the Democratic National Convention, Chicago, 1896
- One of the guidelines which I have laid down throughout my chancellorship is no return to boom and bust.
Lawson 1940– British Conservative politician: speech, House of Commons, 30 October 1996; see
- Everyone is always in favour of general economy and particular expenditure.
Observer 17 June 1956 1897–1977 British Conservative statesman, Prime Minister 1955–7: in
- Inflation is the one form of taxation that can be imposed without legislation.
Observer 22 September 1974 1912–2006 Americaneconomist: in
- In a community where public services have failed to keep abreast of private consumption things are very different. Here, in an atmosphere of private opulence and public squalor, the private goods have full sway.
The Affluent Society (1958) ch. 18 1908–2006 Canadian-born Americaneconomist:
- Trickle-down theory—the less than elegant metaphor that if one feeds the horse enough oats, some will pass through to the road for the sparrows.
The Culture of Contentment (1992) 1908–2006 Canadian-born Americaneconomist:
- The labour of women in the house, certainly enables men to produce more wealth than they otherwise could; and in this way women are economic factors in society. But so are horses.
Women and Economics (1898) ch. 1 1860–1935 Americanwriter and feminist:
- Any observed statistical regularity will tend to collapse once pressure is placed upon it for control purposes.
known as Goodhart's Law, and often quoted as ‘When a measure becomes a target it ceases to be a good measure’
Monetary Theory and Practice: the UK Experience (1984) 1936– Englisheconomist:
- Balancing the budget is like going to heaven. Everybody wants to do it, but nobody wants to do what you have to do to get there. 1942– American Republican politician: in a television interview, 16 September 1990
- How do we know when irrational exuberance has unduly escalated asset values? 1926– Americaneconomist: speech in Washington, 5 December 1996
- Having a little inflation is like being a little pregnant.
A Life in Our Times (1981) 1895–1956 Americaneconomist: J. K. Galbraith
- The best of all monopoly profits is a quiet life.
Econometrica (1935) ‘The Theory of Monopoly’ 1904–89 Britisheconomist:
- Gross national product…measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.
New York Times 10 February 1968, in A. M. Schlesinger Robert Kennedy and his Times (1978) 1925–68 American Democratic politician: in
- Lenin was right. There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency.
The Economic Consequences of the Peace (1919) ch. 6 1883–1946 Englisheconomist:
- Speculators may do no harm as bubbles on a steady stream of enterprise. But the position is serious when enterprise becomes the bubble on a whirlpool of speculation.
General Theory (1936) 1883–1946 Englisheconomist:
- Rising unemployment and the recession have been the price that we've had to pay to get inflation down. [Labour shouts] That is a price well worth paying. 1942– British Conservative politician: speech in the House of Commons, 16 May 1991
- The green shoots of economic spring are appearing once again.
often misquoted as, ‘the green shoots of recovery’ 1942– British Conservative politician: speech at Conservative Party Conference, 9 October 1991
- All the current talk of no return to ‘boom and bust’ is somewhat premature to say the least.
Clarke 1932– British Conservative politician: lecture, London School of Economics, 20 June 1994; see
- First of all the Georgian silver goes, and then all that nice furniture that used to be in the saloon. Then the Canalettos go.
on privatization; often quoted as, ‘Selling off the family silver’ 1894–1986 British Conservative statesman; Prime Minister, 1957–63: speech to the Tory Reform Group, 8 November 1985
- If the policy isn't hurting, it isn't working.
on controlling inflation 1943– British Conservative statesman; Prime Minister, 1990–7: speech in Northampton, 27 October 1989
- Demand for commodities is not demand for labour.
Principles of Political Economy (1848) bk. 1, ch. 5 1806–73 Englishphilosopher and economist:
- Expenditure rises to meet income.
The Law and the Profits (1960) ch. 1 1909–93 Englishwriter:
- The entrepreneur inevitably tends to become a rentier, more and more dominant over those who own nothing but their labour. Once constituted, capital reproduces itself faster than output increases. The past devours the future.
Capital in the Twenty-First Century (2014) conclusion 1971– Frencheconomist:
- Economics is the science which studies human behaviour as a relationship between ends and scarce means which have alternative uses.
Essay on the Nature and Significance of Economic Science (1932) ch. 1, sect. 3 1898–1984 Britisheconomist:
- We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals; we know now that it is bad economics. 1882–1945 American Democratic statesman, 32nd President 1933–45: second inaugural address, 20 January 1937
- Wall Street indexes predicted nine out of the last five recessions.
Newsweek 19 September 1966 1915–2009 Americaneconomist: in
- Small is beautiful. A study of economics as if people mattered. 1911–77 German-born economist: title of book (1973)
- Call a thing immoral or ugly, soul-destroying or a degradation of man, a peril to the peace of the world or to the well-being of future generations: as long as you have not shown it to be ‘uneconomic’ you have not really questioned its right to exist, grow, and prosper.
Small is Beautiful (1973) pt. 1, ch. 3 1911–77 German-born economist:
- The cold metal of economic theory is in Marx's pages immersed in such a wealth of steaming phrases as to acquire a temperature not naturally its own.
Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy (1942) 1883–1950 Austrian-born Americaneconomist:
- The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable.
Reader's Digest 1985; often wrongly attributed to J. K. Galbraith following a humorous piece in U.S. News & World Report 7 March 1988 1920–2002 Burmese-born Americaneconomist: in
- What a country calls its vital economic interests are not the things which enable its citizens to live, but the things which enable it to make war.
A Certain World (1971) 1909–43 Frenchessayist and philosopher: W. H. Auden