Category: classic quotes

Warren Buffett on investment opportunity

Whether you achieve outstanding results will depend on the effort and intellect you apply to your investments, as well as on the amplitudes of stock-market folly that prevail during your investment career. The sillier the market’s behavior, the greater the opportunity for the business-like investor.
~ Warren Buffett, preface to the 4th Edition of The Intelligent Investor, by Benjamin Graham

Comment: We count ourselves very fortunate to be living in such delusional times.

Martin Van Buren on government bailouts

Those who look to the action of this government for specific aid to the citizen to relieve embarrassments arising from losses by revulsions in commerce and credit, lose sight of the ends for which it was created, and the powers with which it is clothed. It was established to give security to us all. … It was not intended to confer special favors on individuals. The less government interferes with private pursuits, the better for the general prosperity.
~ Martin Van Buren, 8th President of the United States, 1837

My comment: Mr. Paulson, you’re no Martin Van Buren.

Nassim Taleb and Charles Mackay on the boom and bust cycle

Learning from history does not come naturally for us humans, a fact that is so visible in the endless repititions of identically configured booms and busts in modern markets.

~ Nassim Taleb, Fooled By Randomness, 2nd Edition (2002)

Taleb’s quip brings to mind this classic…

Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one.

~ Charles Mackay, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds (1852)

My comment: We are still largely in the delusional phase of the current bust.

Friedrich Nietzsche on crowd behavior

Insanity in individuals is something rare – but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Exhibit A: A massive credit bubble fomented, sanctioned and maintained by a U.S. government cheered on by lenders and speculators who made reckless, ill-conceived bets.

John Templeton on the value of bear markets

For those properly prepared in advance, a bear market in stocks is not a calamity but an opportunity. — Sir John Templeton

My comment: How many are prepared for the mother of all bear markets?

Tony Deden on the credit crunch

Despite the indifference and bullishness that permeates the stock markets, we continue to have considerable concerns about the impact that the real economy is likely to suffer as a result of the untangling of such momentous financial mess. In fact, we view these shocks not as a result of some specific malaise, such as the subprime fiasco, as much as tremors that precede the collapse of a phoney monetary order. — Anthony Deden, The Edelweiss Fund Monthly Review, October 3, 2007

Tony Deden on money

When you destroy the money, you destroy the glue that holds society together. — Anthony Deden

Charley Reese on freedom and responsibility

The kernel of the nut is this: In our constitutional republic, sovereignty rests in the people. If the people are too stupid or ignorant, too lazy or indifferent, to hold their public officials accountable for violating the laws and the Constitution, then of course they will deserve the tyranny they will surely get.

Self-government is tremendously more difficult and demanding than living under a dictatorship. In a dictatorship, all you have to do is obey. I fear that concept appeals to some Americans today. It’s understandable. Responsibility can be a heavy load to carry. It’s much easier to relegate all of that to the Great Leader and just do what we are told.

Anybody who’s ever been in the military or a jail knows what I’m talking about. When you are deprived of the ability to make choices, you are simultaneously relieved of the responsibility for making them. Responsibility is the other side of the coin of freedom.

– Charley Reese, “Responsibility,” October 15, 2007

Jay Leno on Congress

Congress has been having hearings this week concerning the increasing number of late airline flights. Congress said they may have to intervene in order to help the airlines improve. And really, who better than Congress to show you how to make your business run more efficiently? — Jay Leno

Julian Simon on creating wealth

Not understanding the process of a spontaneously-ordered economy goes hand-in-hand with not understanding the creation of resources and wealth. And when a person does not understand the creation of resources and wealth, the only intellectual alternative is to believe that increasing wealth must be at the cost of someone else. This belief that our good fortune must be an exploitation of others may be the taproot of false prophecy about doom that our evil ways must bring upon us. — Julian Simon

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