Kenneth Boulding
Quotations


The World is a very complex system. It is easy to have too simple a view of it, and it is easy to do harm and to make things worse under the impulse to do good and make things better.

Theories without facts may be barren, but facts without theories are meaningless.

The dangers and the difficulties of the present time are great. The troubles of the 20th century are not unlike those of adolescence—rapid growth beyond the ability of organizations to manage, uncontrollable emotion, and a desperate search for identity. Out of adolescence, however, comes maturity in which physical growth with all its attendant difficulties comes to an end, but in which growth continues in knowledge, in spirit, in community, and in love; it is to this that we look forward as a human race. This goal, once seen with our eyes, will draw our faltering feet toward it.

We are not sent into this world to walk it in solitude. We are born to love, as we are born to breathe and eat and drink. The babe is hardly separated from his mother’s womb before he stretches out a tiny clasping hand, and from that time forth he will constantly stretch out to touch the world that lies about him and the folk that dwell therein. The purpose of our growth in life is to bring us into unity with the universe into which we are born, to make us aware that we are not lonely individual meteors hurtling blindly through an abysmal dark, but living parts of a living whole. As we grow we learn to love more and more: first ourselves; then the family within the small kingdom of the home; then the school, the wider circle of friends, the home community, the college, and the still wider community of the nation; and finally, the greatest country of all, which has no boundaries this side of Hell, and perhaps not even there. In some this process of enlargement is arrested at an intermediate stage, and then love turns in upon itself and becomes sour. Some have never truly loved anything but themselves—perhaps because their first outreachings were received with coldness and lack of sympathy and then love quickly turns putrid, and becomes greed, and lust, and turns even to self-disgust. Some confine their love to the narrow limits of the family, and then too love decays into sentimentality, or hardens into indifference. The couple that are wrapped up in themselves soon find the parcel uncomfortably tight; the mother who pours out her love on her child till both are smothered in a cocoon of sentiment soon tastes the bitter worm of ingratitude and ruins the very object of her love. There are few more depressing spectacles than the perennial “old grad,” who has never broken the bonds of collegiate enthusiasm or developed beyond the throaty lore of Alma Matriolatry. And the present day provides us with the awful spectacle of what an ingrown love of country can do, what fanatical hatreds and cruelties it can engender, and how again it can destroy the very object of its love.

The right to have children should be a marketable commodity, bought and traded by individuals but absolutely limited by the state.

Anyone who believes exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or an economist.

Mathematics brought rigor to Economics. Unfortunately, it also brought mortis.

Economists are like computers. They need to have facts punched into them.

We make our tools, and then they shape us.

Nothing fails like success because we don't learn from it. We learn only from failure.

There is no such thing as economics, only social science applied to economic problems.

That is considered wisdom, which / Describes the scratch and not the itch.

Boulding's 1st Law: "Anything that exists is possible."

Where there is hypocrisy, there is hope.



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