Adam Smith

The uniform, constant, and uninterrupted effort of every man to better his condition, the principle from which public and national, as well as private opulence is originally derived, is frequently powerful enough to maintain the natural progress of things towards improvement, in spite both of the extravagance of government, and of the greatest errors of administration.

Joseph Stiglitz

There’s a pretty healthy tradition in the U.S. of socializing debt and privatizing gain. I don’t think it’s worked out very well.

David Kantor

All the governance structures in the world can be boiled down to three types. The open system is consensual and unregulated until it hits a point of action, and then an authority, chosen by the group, decides. A representative democracy is an open system. In the closed system, authority rests with position—the closer you are to the top of the hierarchy, the more authority you … [ Read more ]

Milton Friedman, Frédéric Bastiat

It’s always so attractive to be able to do good at somebody else’s expense. That the real problem of our government. Government is a way by which every individual believes he can live at the expense of everybody else.

Bart van Ark

An economy doesn’t operate by market forces alone—it’s dependent on actions of business and consumers and government. There is a clear role for government in creating an environment in which business gets new opportunities. Yes, government should get out of spaces where it doesn’t have to be and let business do its thing. But government needs to be where there are so-called external effects, which … [ Read more ]

Ronald Reagan

You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is … [ Read more ]

Richard Foster

What do self-respecting entrepreneurs do when subjected to new regulations? They learn the regulations backward and forward and then vow never to start another business that falls within the scope of those regulations. And so off the entrepreneur goes to find a new way.

The new entrepreneur often seeks ways to innovate outside the scope of the newly established regulations. In the beginning, all that … [ Read more ]

Jonathan Adler

It was the fatal conceit of socialism, in Hayek’s famous phrase, that wise government bureaucrats could guide society to a better future. Substituting red aspirations with green ones does not change the undertaking’s essential nature-or its likelihood of success.

Michael Porter

Subsidy delays adjustment and innovation rather than promoting it. . . . Ongoing subsidies dull incentives and create an attitude of dependence. Government support makes it difficult to get industry to invest and take risk without it. Attention is focused on renewing subsidies rather than [on] creating true competitive advantage. One subsidized industry propagates its noncompetitiveness to others. Once started, subsidy is difficult to stop. … [ Read more ]

Monique Maddy

Governments should be concerned with creating the type of investment climate (rule of law, healthy and well-educated people, good physical infrastructure, favorable tax structure, respect for private property, and so on), that leads to private investment. Organizations such as the World Bank and the United Nations should limit their activities to assisting governments in this area, rather than attempt to become economic players themselves. When … [ Read more ]

Pete Peterson

Milton Friedman used to remind us that a long-term tax cut isn’t a long-term tax cut at all unless it’s accompanied by a long-term spending cut. It’s essentially a deferred tax, a tax increase on the future.

Bernard Avishai

What, then, can be done about chronically unemployable people? What can businesses do? My answer would not be a new social compact, but a determination to remember the old one more precisely and live up to it more intelligently.

The old compact had always assumed that companies would self-interestedly support certain government actions to enforce the rules of the competitive game. Government would police property … [ Read more ]

Bernard Avishai

…companies were not designed to be engines of social good. Rather, it was the competition among companies that was designed to be an engine of social good… companies contribute to democratic solutions by remaining capable of creating the wealth shareholders and governments appropriate, not by taking on the responsibilities of governments.


When governance has the texture of service it calls for a like response from those governed.

John Rawls (American philosopher)

Isn’t a fair social system the one that we would pick if we didn’t know ahead of time what our role will be?

Ronald Reagan

The government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. If it stops moving, subsidize it.

Jean-Baptiste Say

The encouragement of mere consumption is no benefit to commerce; for the difficulty lies in supplying the means, not in stimulating the desire of consumption; and we have seen that production alone furnishes those means. Thus, it is the aim of good government to stimulate production, of bad government to encourage consumption.