Good questions outrank easy answers.

— Paul Samuelson

The most mouth-watering Paul Samuelson quotes that are life-changing and eye-opening

An intriguing paradox of the 1990s is that it isn't called a decade of greed.

49

I don't care who writes a nation's laws - or crafts its advanced treaties - if I can write its economics textbooks.

40

Macroeconomics, even with all of our computers and with all of our information - is not an exact science and is incapable of being an exact science.

34

What we know about the global financial crisis is that we don't know very much.

31

Every good cause is worth some inefficiency.

28

To prove that Wall Street is an early omen of movements still to come in GNP, commentators quote economic studies alleging that market downturns predicted four out of the last five recessions. That is an understatement. Wall Street indexes predicted nine out of the last five recessions! And its mistakes were beauties.

25

Profits are the lifeblood of the economic system, the magic elixir upon which progress and all good things depend ultimately. But one man's lifeblood is another man's cancer.

22

Kelsoism is not accepted by modern scientific economics as a valid and fruitful analysis of the distribution of income but rather it is regarded as an amateurish and cranky fad.

20

Investing should be more like watching paint dry or watching grass grow.

If you want excitement, take $800 and go to Las Vegas.

19

You know what happiness is: 'Having a little more money than your colleagues.

' And that's not so tough in academic life.

18

Sooner or later the Internet will become profitable.

It's an old story played before by canals, railroads and automobiles.

16

I'm not sure most of the people that get caught up in the middle of a bubble can be described as irrational. It seems pretty rational to buy a house and flip it in the next few weeks at a profit when that's been happening for along time.

16

About Paul Samuelson

Quotes 73 sayings
Nationality American
Profession Economist
Birthday October 16

Companies are not charitable enterprises: They hire workers to make profits.

In the United States, this logic still works. In Europe, it hardly does.

12

Globalization presumes sustained economic growth.

Otherwise, the process loses its economic benefits and political support.

12

Second, they [those who disagree with market efficiency] always claim they know a man, a bank, or a fund that does do better. Alas, anecdotes are not science. And once Wharton School dissertations seek to quantify the performers, these have a tendency to evaporate into the air - or, at least, into statistically insignificant t-statistics.

11

What counts is results, and there can be no doubt that the Soviet planning system has been a powerful engine for economic growth...The Soviet model has surely demonstrated that a command economy is capable of mobilizing resources for rapid growth.

10

Funeral by funeral, theory advances.

8

Mea culpa, mea culpa. MIT and Wharton and University of Chicago created the financial engineering instruments, which, like Samson and Delilah, blinded every CEO. They didn't realize the kind of leverage they were doing and they didn't understand when they were really creating a real profit or a fictitious one.

8

The sad truth is that it is precisely those who disagree most with the hypothesis of efficient market pricing of stocks, those who pooh-pooh beta analysis and all that, who are least able to understand the analysis needed to test that hypothesis.

8

Asia's governments come in two broad varieties: young, fragile democracies - and older, fragile authoritarian regimes.

7

What good does it do a black youth to know that an employer must pay him $2 an hour if the fact that he must be paid that amount is what keeps him from getting a job?

7

When the economy was going up, [Milton Friedman and I] both gave the same advice, and when the economy was going down, we gave the same advice. But in between he didn't change his advice at all.

7

The problem is no longer that with every pair of hands that comes into the world there comes a hungry stomach. Rather it is that, attached to those hands are sharp elbows.

6

Economics has never been a science - and it is even less now than a few years ago.

6

Two-thirds of a century after [The Road to Serfdom] got written, hindsight confirms how inaccurate its innuendo about the future turned out to be.

6

In this age of specialization, I sometimes think of myself as the last 'generalist' in economics, with interests that range from mathematical economics down to current financial journalism. My real interests are research and teaching.

5

Self-deception ultimately explains Japan's plight.

The Japanese have never accepted that change is in their interest - and not merely a response to U.S. criticism.

5

But the trouble is that he [Alan Greenspan] had been an Ayn Rander.

You can take the boy out of the cult but you can't take the cult out of the boy.

5

First, those who disagree with market efficiency simply assert that it stands to common sense that greater effort to get facts and greater acumen in analyzing those facts will pay off in better performance somehow measured. (By this logic, cure for cancer must have been found by 1955).

4

Thousands of important and intelligent men have never been able to grasp the principle of comparative advantage or believe it even after it was explained to them

4

It is not easy to get rich in Las Vegas, at Churchill Downs, or at the local Merrill Lynch office.

4

Econometrics may be defined as the quantitative analysis of actual economic phenomena based on the concurrent development of theory and observation, related by appropriate methods of inference.

4

Marshall's crime is to pretend to handle imperfect competition with tools only applicable to perfect competition.

4

The failure of market catallactics in no way denies the following truth: given sufficient knowledge the optimal decisions can always be found by scanning over all the attainable states of the world and selecting the one which according to the postulated ethical welfare function is best. The solution 'exists'; the problem is how to 'find' it.

3

Even if this advice to portfolio decision makers to drop dead is good advice, it obviously is not counsel that will be eagerly followed. Few people will commit suicide without a push. And fewer still will pay good money to be told to do what is against human nature and self-interest to do.

3

I spent the four years I was an undergraduate working on the beach.

And it wasn't because I was lazy; it was because my freshman class would go to a hundred different employers and wouldn't get a nibble.

3

Anyone with special abilities earns a differential return on that flair, which we economists call a rent. Those few with extraordinary P.Q. (Performance Quotient) will not give away such rent to the Ford Foundation or the local bank trust department. They have too high an I.Q. for that.

3

Two factors explain our success. One, MIT's renaissance after World War II as a federally supported research resource. Two, the mathematical revolution in macro- and micro-economic theory and statistics. This was overdue and inevitable, MIT was the logical place for it to flourish.

2

Reasonable men are not reasonable when you're in the bubbles which have characterized capitalism since the beginning of time.

1

Contrary to what many skeptics had earlier believed, the Soviet economy is proof that a socialist command economy can function and even thrive.

1

The growth of a nation's productive potential is the central factor in determining its growth in real wages and living standards.... high rates of investment and saving usually have a big payoff in promoting economic growth.

1

If we made an income pyramid out of a child's blocks, with each layer portraying $1,000 of income, the peak would be far higher than the Eiffel Tower, but almost all of us would be within a yard of the ground.

1

I couldn't reconcile what I was being taught at the university of Chicago, the lectures and the books I was being assigned, with what I knew to be true out in the streets.

0

We are like highly trained athletes, who never run a race.

0

In every mutual fund prospectus, in every sales promotional folder, and in every mutual fund advertisement (albeit in print almost too small to read), the following warning appears: "Past performance is no guarantee of future results."

0

Let those who will write the nation's laws, if I can write its textbooks.

0

A growing nation is the greatest ponzi game ever contrived.

0

The debate can be put in the form of the question: Resolved, that the best of money managers cannot be demonstrated to be able to deliver the goods of superior portfolio-selection performance. Any jury that reviews the evidence, and there is a great deal of relevant evidence, must at least come out with the Scottish verdict: Superior investment performance is unproved.

0

Politicians like to tell people what they want to hear - and what they want to hear is what won't happen.

0
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