Sense And Nonsense

Select examples of what the title suggests, courtesy of Edelweiss Holdings

“‘Devaluing a currency,’ one senior Federal Reserve official once told me, ‘is like peeing in bed. It feels good at first, but pretty soon it becomes a real mess.’”

—Francesco Guerrera, The Wall Street Journal, 4 Feb 2013.


“Any perception of our wavering in our commitment to sound money would undermine our ability to sustain stimulus.”

—Headline on 26 February 2013 quoting Bank of England’s Paul Tucker. We suspect that what he meant was that fraud only works for the fraudster so long as victims don’t see they are being defrauded.


“Being downgraded by Moody’s is like being called a moron by a moron.”

—Tim Price, “End of Empire,” 25 Feb 2013.


“Understanding that in a market economy a person can only get rich by enriching others torpedoes claims to the moral high ground of those who propose that government redistribution of wealth is a means to alleviate poverty.”

—Manuel F. Ayau, Not a Zero-Sum Game: The Paradox of Exchange (2007).


“I abandoned free market principles to save the free market system.”

—George W. Bush, interviewed on CNN on 16 December 2008.


“Somebody like Paul Krugman, who’s overdosed on mathematics and uses the King’s English better than practically anyone alive is very dangerous.”

—Charlie Munger, Daily Journal Corp Annual Meeting, 6 Feb 2013.


“It is easy to make a buck. It’s a lot tougher to make a difference.”

—Tom Brokaw


“It is more than passing curious that those in the university community who are most heavily addicted to diversity cannot tolerate it when it comes to divergence of opinions, conclusions, public policy prescriptions, etc.”

—Walter Block, Building Blocks for Liberty (2006).


“There’s all kinds of myths and pseudoscience all over the place. I may be quite wrong, maybe they do know all these things, but I don’t think I’m wrong. You see, I have the advantage of having found out how hard it is to get to really know something, how careful you have to be about checking the experiments, how easy it is to make mistakes and fool yourself. I know what it means to know something, and therefore I see how they get their information and I can’t believe that they know it. They haven’t done the work necessary, haven’t done the checks necessary, haven’t taken the care necessary. I have a great suspicion that they don’t know, that this stuff is [wrong] and that they’re intimidating people.”

—Richard P. Feynman, The Pleasure of Finding Things Out (1999).


“The euro should not fluctuate according to the mood of the markets. A monetary zone must have an exchange rate policy. If not, it will be subjected to an exchange rate that does not reflect the real state of the economy.”

—French President François Hollande to the European Parliament, 5 February 2013.


“We all know what to do, we just don’t know how to get re-elected after we have done it.”

—Jean-Claude Juncker, prime minister of Luxembourg, in a moment of candor. Quoted in Th e Economist, 15 Mar 2007, and worth pondering when politicians wonder why no one trusts them.