Monday, June 04, 2012

Quotes of the day

The world is not organised along rational lines.--Matthew Engel

Regardless of your thesis about what a victory or defeat for Greek leftists would do in the financial markets, having better information about the electoral outcome is sure to be valuable. Someone might just make “the best trade ever” in the next two weeks—all thanks to Greece’s restriction on freedom of the press.--John Carney

It is easy to sympathize with the hostility to the many banks that behaved (in retrospect) so foolishly in ways that damaged everyone else as they took on excessive risk in their quests for greater profits. One can understand also the general reaction against capitalism and “market failures” since commercial and investment banks were in the past a leading example of capitalism at work. Yet anyone concerned about the welfare of the poor and middle classes should resist the temptation to attack competitive private enterprise and capitalism- monopoly or crony capitalism should be deplored. This is only partly because “government failure” also contributed in an important way to the financial crisis as regulators did not rein in the asset explosion of banks and households. Indeed, regulators often encouraged lending to lower income families to buy houses with low down payments, large mortgages and ballooning interest payments.  The main reason to be concerned about the attacks on competitive capitalism is that it has delivered during the past 150 years so much to all strata’s of society, including the poor.--Gary Becker

Every technology has its own logic. Facebook “wants” us to log in a lot and to interact with each other – hence the ability to “like” posts, to comment, to “like” comments, and the constant stream of notifications about all of this. This is sinister, but less insidious because it is so brazen. Facebook the technology has metaphorical wants that reflect the entirely non-metaphorical strategy of Facebook the company.--Tim Harford

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