Jerry Z. Muller

[Georg] Simmel recognized that the freedom of the liberal capitalist state is not a good in and of itself. Freedom without a sense of direction and purpose breeds boredom and restlessness.

Jerry Z. Muller

[Georg Simmel] observed that capitalist competition doesn’t just involve those who compete; it’s a struggle for the affection (or money) of a third party. In order to succeed, the competitor must discover the wishes of that third party.

Jerry Z. Muller

It’s a commonplace that there are some things money can’t buy. [Georg] Simmel had a more striking insight: Having money can actually be more satisfying than having the things money can buy. That’s because…money has a “surplus value.” A person with money enjoys the added satisfaction of having a choice of things to buy: “The value of a given amount of money is equal to … [ Read more ]

Steven Sherman, Matthew Crawford, Allen McConnell

Experiments indicate that we prefer “choices where the outcomes of alternative selections will never be learned,” as a way of avoiding regret…We avoid those agonizing might-have-beens, it seems, by cultivating not just wisdom but ignorance.

Larry Summers

You can show very elegantly that the market will efficiently price two-quart botttles of ketchup at twice the price of a one-quart bottle; the problem is that the one-quart bottle may be mispriced.

William Deresiewics

This is what the contemporary self wants. It wants to be recognized, wants to be connected: It wants to be visible…If the property that grounded the self, in Romanticism, was sincerity, and in modernism it was authenticity, then in postmodernism it is visibility.

So we live exclusively in relation to others, and what disappears from our lives is solitude….But no real excellence, personal or social, … [ Read more ]

Tom Ruby

Misapplying experience is perhaps the surest route to failure.

Kishore Mahbubani

Nations, like individuals, languish when they only have uncritical lovers or unloving critics.

Gilman Louie

The most surprising thing was that if terrorists rolled a hand grenade down the middle of a room, all our CIA employees would jump out of their seats and throw their bodies on it to protect everyone else. They would all give up their lives for one another and their country. However, if someone ran into the room and said, ‘I need someone to make … [ Read more ]

William A. Galston

Although the cost of excessive caution is harder to measure than that of recklessness, it is no less real.

Gil Troy

Problem ­solving invites reason, compromise, and, ultimately, mutual respect; ­identity ­building invites posturing, passion, and, ultimately, intolerance.

Erving Goffman, Max Weber

Greet­ings are the means by which individuals enter into social arrangements and relationships; the ways greetings are given, received, and reciprocated provide a means of reading status, power, group identity, and disposition toward cooperation or hostility.

David Sarnoff

Competition brings out the best in products and the worst in men.

Nolan Bushnell

The way to an interesting life is to stay on the steep part of the learning curve.

Kenneth Boulding

The human condition can almost be summed up in the observation that, whereas all experiences are of the past, all decisions are about the future. The image of the future, therefore, is the key to all choice-oriented behavior.