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Kenneth Boulding

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The success of Japanese development is due simply to the fact that Japan devoted a substantial portion of its resources to the growth industry, and particularly to the human resources and then commended Max Weber's emphasis on hard work and thrift.
All the law and the prophets of economic development can be summed up in the old proverb that "where there's a will there's a way". The way indeed is absurdly easy and is well known. It consists merely in putting resources into growth. What could be simpler and easier! the problem however, is the will, and this. I think, we understand very little. The whole cultural milieu of society plays a role in the process of developing its will, and it is hard to separate the determining factors. A widespread puritan ethic, as Max Weber pointed out, is undoubtedly an asset, if this leads people to place a high value on hard work and thrift. On the other hand, puritanism often goes along with a resistance to social change and an unwillingness to innovate outside a narrow field of technology, and thrift alone can often lead to uncreative forms of accumulation or even to unemployment and depression. Mere accumulation is not enough. Economic development does not consist merely in the piling up of things, but in the accumulation of new kinds of things.
p.116. partly cited in: Deirdre McCloskey (2013) "What Boulding Said Went Wrong with Economics, A Quarter Century On"

Kenneth Boulding

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They, economics and evolution, are both examples of a larger process, which has been at work in this part of the universe for a very long time. This is the process of the development of structures of increasing complexity and improbability. The evolutionary process always operates through mutation and selection and has involved some distinction between the genotype which mutates and the phenotype which is selected. The process by which the genotype constructs the phenotype may be described as "organization". Economic development manifesto itself largely in the production of commodities, that is, goods and services. It originates, however, in ideas, plans, and attitudes in the human mind. These are the genotypes in economic development. This whole process indeed can be described as a process in the growth of knowledge. What the economist calls "capital" is nothing more than human knowledge imposed on the material world. Knowledge and the growth of knowledge, therefore, is the essential key to economic development. Investment, financial systems and economic organizations and institutions are in a sense only the machinery by which a knowledge process is created and expressed.

Kenneth Boulding

The peculiar character of the problem of a rational economic order is determined precisely by the fact that the knowledge of the circumstances of which we must make use never exists in concentrated or integrated form but solely as the dispersed bits of incomplete and frequently contradictory knowledge which all the separate individuals possess. The economic problem of society is thus not merely a problem of how to allocate "given" resources if "given" is taken to mean given to a single mind which deliberately solves the problem set by these "data." It is rather a problem of how to secure the best use of resources known to any of the members of society, for ends whose relative importance only these individuals know. Or, to put it briefly, it is a problem of the utilization of knowledge which is not given to anyone in its totality.

Friedrich Hayek

We still have a great amount of work to do in social development, including resolving one of the biggest challenges we face in this area, namely, reducing the gap between high-income earners and people, citizens of our country, who are still living on very modest means indeed. But we cannot, of course, adopt the solution used 80 years ago and simply confiscate the riches of some to redistribute among others. We will use completely different means to resolve this problem, namely, we will ensure good economic growth.

Vladimir Putin

Economists can take a good deal of credit for the stabilization policies which have been followed in most Western countries since 1945 with considerable success. It is easy to generate a euphoric and self-congratulatory mood when one compares the twenty years after the first World War, 1919-39, with the twenty years after the second, 1945-65. The first twenty years were a total failure; the second twenty years, at least as far as economic policy is concerned, have been a modest success. We have not had any great depression; we have not had any serious financial collapse; and on the whole we have had much higher rates of development in most parts of the world than we had in the 1920s and 1930s, even though there are some conspicuous failures. Whether the unprecedented rates of economic growth of the last twenty years, for instance in Japan and Western Europe, can be attributed to economics, or whether they represent a combination of good luck in political decision making with the expanding impact of the natural and biological sciences on the economy, is something we might argue. I am inclined to attribute a good deal to good luck and non-economic forces, but not all of it, and even if economics only contributed 10 percent, this would amount to a very handsome rate of return indeed, considering the very small amount of resources we have really put into economics.

Kenneth Boulding

And that kind of economic growth, where everybody has opportunity -- if you work hard, you can succeed -- that's what gets a nation moving rapidly when it comes to develop. But that kind of growth can only be created if corruption is left behind. For investment to lead to opportunity, reform must promote budgets that are transparent and industry that is privately owned.

Barack Obama
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