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James Buchan – 30 Quotes

 

30 Quotes by James Buchan

 

Saudi Arabia is a puritanical state that claims a monopoly of wisdom and virtue.

– James Buchan


Any new financial order for the world must tackle the three chief challenges of our age.

– James Buchan


If good history is dispassionate history, it must naturally wait until the passions of the period subside.

– James Buchan


Profits in business always depend on the rate of interest: the higher the interest, the higher the rate of profit required.

– James Buchan


Is there any purpose to translating poetry? A poem does not contain information of importance, like a signpost or a warning notice.

– James Buchan


Were there peace and justice in the Middle East, the Arabs would no more need their tinhorn dictators than they would their corpulent princes.

– James Buchan


Because bankers measure their self-worth in money, and pay themselves a lot of it, they think they’re fine fellows and don’t need to explain themselves.

– James Buchan


Up until the Depression, recession had a moral character: it was supposed to purge the body economic of the greed and excess that attends a business expansion.

– James Buchan


Rarely in modern times has there been such a revolution in commercial sentiment as occurred in 2008, or such a display in government and business of panic and helplessness.

– James Buchan


The world dominion of western thought, forms of organisation, technology and military force is not God-given, nor eternal, nor greatly appreciated by the rest of the world.

– James Buchan


In rising financial markets, the world is forever new. The bull or optimist has no eyes for past or present, but only for the future, where streams of revenue play in his imagination.

– James Buchan


Since the attack on the United States on September 11 2001, and the US retaliation in Afghanistan and Iraq, there must be few people who have not felt a twinge of nostalgia for the cold war.

– James Buchan


In modern society, where most people live in cities, and where both needs and wishes are absolved through the same remote agency – money – the distinction between wishes and needs has altogether vanished.

– James Buchan


Bulls don’t read. Bears read financial history. As markets fall to bits, the bears dust off the Dutch tulip mania of 1637, the Banque Royale of 1719-20, the railway speculation of the 1840s, the great crash of 1929.

– James Buchan


Whatever else it was, Adolf Hitler’s short-lived regime was also a colossal industrial process by which the wealth and productive power of much of Europe was wrenched from its normal purposes and converted into a machine for killing.

– James Buchan


The west has a great deal to answer for in the Middle East, from Britain’s belated empire-building after the First World War to the US and British policy that condemns modern Iraq to the material and social squalor of a half-century ago.

– James Buchan


Of all the failed technologies that litter the onward march of science – steam carriages, zeppelins, armoured trains – none has been so catastrophic to prosperity as the last century’s attempt to generate electricity from nuclear fission.

– James Buchan


To make a love story, you need a couple of young people, but to reflect on the nature of love, you’re better off with old ones. That is a fact of life and literature – and of the novel ever since it fell in love with love in the 18th century.

– James Buchan


The truth is, of course, that history is not completed in modern commerce any more than philosophy is perfected in political economy. In other words, there is nothing timeless or God-given about filling stations and penicillin and plastic bags.

– James Buchan


Suicidal violence is not the exclusive property of the Muslim world. Suicide bombings were a tactic of nationalist struggles in 19th-century Europe and Russia, the far east during the second world war and the Vietnam war, and in modern Sri Lanka.

– James Buchan


We read too much Shakespeare at school, and view our parliamentary politics as dynastic drama, in which an impatient crown prince frets at his long subordination and begins to scheme for the throne he knows he merits, was promised and has earned.

– James Buchan


The year 2008 was a reminder to those who had forgotten that there is such a thing as history and that the cycle of famine and feast in commerce, first identified in antiquity and well understood in the Middle Ages, was not suddenly abolished in modern times.

– James Buchan


To give money to a woman – and here I must speak as a man – is to deny her special quality, her irreplaceability, and reduce her unique amiability to a commodity. Money takes away her name, while transforming her lover into a nameless customer of a market of appetites.

– James Buchan


Cause and effect, the riddle of all history, is a particular devil in financial history and never more so than today, where entire classes of security are collapsing not on public exchanges and stock-tickers but because there are no markets to establish prices this side of nothing.

– James Buchan


Even before he came to power in 1997, Gordon Brown promised to change the accounts to parliament from simple litanies of cash in and cash out, to a more commercial system that took notice of the public property the departments were using. This system is known as resource accounting.

– James Buchan


One of the consequences of the Iranian revolution has been an explosion of history. A country once known only from British consular reports and intrepid travelogues is now awash with historical documents, letters, diaries, grainy video, weblogs and secret police files of questionable authenticity.

– James Buchan


Nature is not simply a technical or economical resource, and human beings are not mere numbers. To suggest that one can somehow align all the squabbling institutions of science, environmental management, government and diplomacy in an alliance of convenience to regulate the global climate seems to me optimistic.

– James Buchan


For all their current prestige, Osama bin Laden and the suicide bombers are still regarded in all but the most desperate districts of Gaza or Peshawar as romantics with little chance of more than symbolic victories, however bloody and brutal. That gives both the Middle East and the West a small and distant hope of security.

– James Buchan


There are signs that the age of petroleum has passed its zenith. Adjusted for inflation, a barrel of crude oil now sells for three times its long-run average. The large western oil companies, which cartellised the industry for much of the 20th century, are now selling more oil than they find, and are thus in the throes of liquidation.

– James Buchan


For 50 years, nuclear power stations have produced three products which only a lunatic could want: bomb-explosive plutonium, lethal radioactive waste and electricity so dear it has to be heavily subsidised. They leave to future generations the task, and most of the cost, of making safe sites that have been polluted half-way to eternity.

– James Buchan


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