Quotes That Catch My Fancy

We have two of them and they address a common topic:

It seems to every administrator that it is only by his efforts that the whole population under his rule is kept going, and in this consciousness of being indispensable every administrator finds the chief reward of his labour and efforts. While the sea of history remains calm the ruler-administrator in his frail bark, holding on with a boat-hook to the ship of the people and himself moving, naturally imagines that his efforts move the ship he is holding on to. But as soon as a storm arises and the sea begins to heave and the ship to move, such a delusion is no longer possible. The ship moves independently with its own enormous motion, the boat-hook no longer reaches the moving vessel, and suddenly the adminstrator, instead of appearing a ruler and a source of power, becomes an insignificant, feeble man…

–Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace.

And from the Economist, there is this:

. . . How far should the balance between governments and markets shift? This special report will argue that although some rebalancing is needed, particularly in financial regulation, where innovation outpaced a sclerotic supervisory regime, it would be a mistake to blame today’s mess only, or even mainly, on modern finance and “free-market fundamentalism”. Speculative excesses existed centuries before securitisation was invented, and governments bear direct responsibility for some of today’s troubles. Misguided subsidies, on everything from biofuels to mortgage interest, have distorted markets. Loose monetary policy helped to inflate a global credit bubble. Provocative as it may sound in today’s febrile and dangerous climate, freer and more flexible markets will still do more for the world economy than the heavy hand of government.