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All Quotes by author - James Buchan
" A century ago, petroleum - what we call oil - was just an obscure commodity; today it is almost as vital to human existence as water. "
" All UK nuclear power stations should be shut down without delay. "
" An atheist is a man who has no invisible means of support. "
" 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. "
" 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. "
" Economists, like royal children, are not punished for their errors. "
" Financial crises are like fireworks: they illuminate the sky even as they go pop. "
" 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. "
" 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. "
" Governments of rich countries spend some $6bn of tax money a year on disaster relief and development aid overseas, while each new earthquake, famine or tidal wave can attract 1,000 aid organisations, from the United Nations Children's Fund and Oxfam to the 'Jesus Brigades' of the American south and other charitable adventurers. "
" 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. "
" Life without oil, in fact, would be so different that it is frightening to contemplate. We are addicted, and it is no comfortable addiction. "
" 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. "
" Soaring prices for crude oil, falling production surpluses, wild speculation in commodities, a rush into the precious metals, turmoil in the Middle East, assertive oil producers: it is 1973-74 all over again, and at dictation speed. "
" 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. "
" The dividing line between wish and need was never clear. "
" The great disadvantage of getting older is to be obliged to relive the salient economic events of one's youth, with nothing learned and nothing forgotten. "
" The prevailing ideology of the modern west - which is political economy - is in the doghouse. Having failed to notice atmospheric pollution, the economists then frightened themselves with the sort of financial crisis they said they had abolished. "
" 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. "
" The world survived the fall of the Roman empire and will no doubt outlast our own so much more splendid civilisation. "
" 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. "
" 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. "
" 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. "
" Viewed from a distance, or through the eye of the All-Knowing CEO of the Universe, the crash of 2008 followed the usual pattern. A long-lived boom driven by cheap credit, going back as far as 1982 (though subject to interruptions in the mid-1980s and 1990s, and in 2001), came to grief because of a rise in the cost of borrowing money. "
" Were there peace and justice in the Middle East, the Arabs would no more need their tinhorn dictators than they would their corpulent princes. "
" Where consumption is both conspicuous and competitive, humanity will never run out of new wishes. All the while, industry creates new desires that are marketed, in the great fashion paradox, as both novelty and need. "
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