Friday, July 25, 2008

Quotes of the day

[Adam] Smith was skeptical not about the strength of altruism, but about its scope or reach.--Gary Becker

If you make the world safe for idiots (and reckless borrowers, investors and executives), you'll create a world full of idiots (reckless borrowers, investors and executives).--Mark Perry, on the moral hazard of government bailouts

In blind tests, Domaine Ste. Michelle Cuvee Brut, a $12 sparkling wine from Washington, is preferred nearly two to one to $150 Dom Perignon if you strip away the labels.--Steven Levitt

Financial markets will always be subject to miscalculations and mistakes. However, the more we ask politicians to provide perfect insulation from financial risk, the more fragile the system will become. That is the real lesson we should take from the Fannie and Freddie saga.--Arnold Kling

Venkatesh then proceeds, rather naively in my view, to call for replacing the Department of Housing and Urban Development with a better department. First of all, failure only leads to exit in markets, not in government. Second, who is to say that the next generation of programs will not also be captured by special interests?--Arnold Kling

Years ago when I was teaching at another university, I was invited to a special seminar presented by a multi-millionaire heir. The heir argued that the natural rate of interest was 5 percent because the natural life of a generation was 20 years and 5 percent is the reciprocal of 20. I’m pretty sure that this is nonsense on stilts. The audience (which included more than one Nobel prize winner) faced a real dilemma. Do you tell someone who could give you millions that he or she has a foolish idea?--Ian Ayers

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