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Robert Heilbroner (1919 – 2005)


American economist and historian of economic thought.
Robert Heilbroner
If an economy in the doldrums could drift indefinitely, the price of government inaction might be graver by far than the consequences of bold unorthodoxy.
Heilbroner quotes
The secret to economic growth lay in the fact that that each generation attacked Nature not only with its own energies and resources, but with the heritage of equipment accumulated by its forebears.
Heilbroner
Economic freedom is a highly desirable state - but in bust and boom we must be prepared to face the its consequences.




Heilbroner Robert quotes
Today and over the foreseeable future,traditional capitalism throughout most of the world has been thrown on a defensive from which it is doubtful that it can never recover.
Heilbroner Robert
Unlike modern man, who dreams of the world he will make, pre-modern man dreamed of the world he left.
Robert Heilbroner quotes
It is from the scope and wisdom of the economists of the past that we must reap the knowledge with which to face the future.
Robert Heilbroner
In the periods of crisis, the bigger firms absorb the smaller ones,and when the industrial monsters eventually go down, the wreckage is far greater than when the little enterprises buckle.
Heilbroner Robert quotes
For it is certain that the future will bring realities for which our traditional optimism fails to prepare us and against which our economic momentum fails to arm us.
Heilbroner
When we estrange ourselves from history we do not enlarge, we diminish ourselves, even as individuals. We subtract from our lives one meaning which they do in fact possess, whether we recognize it or not. We cannot help living in history. We can only fail to be aware of it.
Heilbroner Robert
Ricardo saw that the escalator worked with different effects on different classes, that some rode triumphantly to the top, while others were carried up a few steps and then kicked back down to the bottom.
Robert Heilbroner
The change began with John Stuart Mill and the Utopians. When Mill pointed out that economics had no ultimate solution to the problem of distribution, that society might do with the fruits of its toil as it saw fit, he introduced into the mechanical calculus of the market a conflicting calculus of moral judgment.




Robert Heilbroner quotes
The distribution of wealth, therefore, depends on the laws and customs of society.
Robert Heilbroner
But despite the clarion words of the Manifesto, the demonic note was not a call for a revolution of communism; it was a cry born only of frustration and despair.
Heilbroner quotes
In the end the question is: Who is to be master, man or his machines? As long as the control over technology rests primarily on economic calculation, the victor is not likely to be man.
Heilbroner Robert
The book was called Imperialism; it was a devastating volume. For here was the most important and searing criticism which had ever been levied against the profit system. The worst that Marx had claimed was that the system would destroy itself; what Hobson suggested was that it might destroy the world.
Heilbroner Robert quotes
There was no simple riddance to the power of a dangerous political idea; no assassination possible to avert a disruptive change in technology; no natural death to be counted on to stop an economic change that ripped up ancestral estates or stirred up class discontent.
Robert Heilbroner
It was the unemployment that was the hardest to bear. The jobless millions were like an embolism in the nation's vital circulation; and while their indisputable existence argued more forcibly than any text that something was wrong with the system, the economists wrung their hands and racked their brains and called upon the spirit of Adam Smith, but could offer neither diagnosis or remedy.
Robert Heilbroner quotes
History, as it comes into our daily lives, is charged with surprise and shock.
Robert Heilbroner
Very few of the heroes of the Golden Age of American finance had much interest in the solid realities of what underlay their structure of stocks and bonds and credits.
Heilbroner Robert
To one American family out of four, the idea of capitalism as a benign system of comfort, dignity, and personal advance is only a myth, or worse, a bitter mockery.


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