He tried to explain why men on Wall Street had jumped from skyscrapers……… because, why? Because all the businessmen realized at once, on the same morning, that paper money was only paper. What Terrible fools. What did they think it was? – Annie Dillard
When everything is worth money, then money is worth nothing.
— David Byrne
In any country where talent and virtue produce no advancement, money will be the national god. Its inhabitants will either have to possess money or make others believe that they do. Wealth will be the highest virtue, poverty the greatest vice. Those who have money will display it in every imaginable way. If their ostentation does not exceed their fortune, all will be well. But if their ostentation does exceed their fortune they will ruin themselves. In such a country, the greatest fortunes will vanish in the twinkling of an eye. Those who don’t have money will ruin themselves with vain efforts to conceal their poverty. That is one kind of affluence: the outward sign of wealth for a small number, the mask of poverty for the majority, and a source of corruption for all. —Denis Diderot
Economic development, more than any single issue, is the battle line between two competing world views. Tribal people’s fundamental value was sustainability, and they conducted their livelihoods in ways that sustained resources and limited inequalities in their society. What made traditional economies so radically different and so very fundamentally dangerous to Western economies were the traditional principles of prosperity of Creation versus scarcity of resources, of sharing and distribution versus accumulation and greed, of kinship usage rights versus individual exclusive ownership rights, and of sustainability versus growth.
— Revecca Adamson
For the economy I want workers and consumers to have control over their own economic lives. I want everyone to have fair conditions that fully utilize their talents and potentials. I want incomes that accord with the efforts people expend in their labors. I want what is produced, by whom, under what conditions, and with who consuming the result–all determined in accord with enhancing human well-being and development and all decided by the people involved and affected. I want an end to hierarchies of power and wealth and to class division with most actors subordinated to an elite few. To accomplish all these ends I favor the institutions of participatory economics — worker and consumer councils, remuneration for effort and sacrifice, balanced job complexes, and participatory planning. If someone should demonstrate that those institutions somehow fail to accomplish necessary economic functions or have social or personal by-products that outweigh their benefits — I would simply return to the drawing board. Exploitation, alienation, poverty, disempowerment, fragmenting and debilitating labor, production for the profit of a few — much less harsh homelessness, starvation, and degradation — are not like gravity. They arise from institutional relations established by human beings. New institutions, also established by human beings, can generate other vastly superior outcomes. Defining and working to attain those new institutions ought to be our economic agenda.
— Michael Albert
Economics has been incurably growth-oriented and addicted to everybody growing richer, even at the cost of exhaustion of resources and pollution of the environment.
“If the corporations have their way, the Earth will be killed, and that’s in your lifetime. It’s revolting to me that students are being trained to work in corporations. It’s obscene to me that the corporations are running the world. We’ve got to get cross. Anger is an appropriate emotion.”
— Helen Caldicott
The superior person understands rightness; the inferior person understands profit
American consumerism is about buying things we don’t need, with money we don’t have, to impress friends we don’t have time for.
— Leo Horrigan