Eight Economic Truths

Quotes on Paradigm Shifting

"Anyone who believes that exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or an economist"

Anonymous. This quote is often attributed to the economics writer Kenneth E. Boulding, but I have not been able to find a source document.


"The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widely spread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible."

Bertrand Russell from Love and Marriage


"What gets us into trouble is not what we don't know. It's what we know for sure that just ain't so."

Anonymous. This quote is usually attributed to Mark Twain but I have not found a source document


Words, the counters for ideals, are, however, easily taken for ideas. And in just the degree in which mental activity is separated from active concern with the world, from doing something and connecting the doing with what is undergone, words, symbols, come to take the place of ideas. The substitution is the more subtle because some meaning is recognized. But we are very easily trained to be content with a minimum of meaning, and to fail to note how restricted is our perception of the relations which confer significance. We get so thoroughly used to a kind of pseudo-idea, a half perception, that we are not aware how half-dead our mental action is, and how much keener and more extensive our observations and ideas would be if we formed them under conditions of a vital experience which required us to use judgment: to hunt for the connections of the thing dealt with.

John Dewey from Democracy and Education. I took this quote from the Project Gutenberg version of Dewey's book.


"Frequently bringing up limits to growth causes one to be dismissed as either a fanatical socialist 'comrade' and/or as a tree hugging hippie sentimentalist who has no understanding of the practical realities of human nature. My perception is that the people who make such accusations are resisting (for very understandable reasons) the prospect of a major discontinuity in our prevailing social institutions, but they are not responding to the actual substance of limits to growth arguments and the implied serious problems which need to be addressed. The reality of the economic and environmental crises which we face can be understood independently of political ideology. The fact that once that understanding is achieved very uncomfortable conclusions about the fate of our current social institutions immediately follows does not in any way tend to falsify the underlying fundamental truths."

Roger Brown (Yours truly, from my unpublished book Eight Economic Truths )

more quotes here

Rogerkb [at] eighteconomictruths [dot] com