A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from August 03, 2011
“The economy is too important to be left to economists”

"War is too important to be left to the generals” is a famous quote, attributed to Georges Clemenceau (1841-1929). The quotation has also become famous in an economics version. “Someone once quipped that economic development is much too serious a topic to be left to economists,” from the book Economic Development: Theory, History, Policy (1957) by Gerald M. Meier and Robert E. Baldwin, was frequently cited by other books.

Hans Joachim Morgenthau, in The Restoration of American Politics (1962), wrote:

“As military policy is too important a matter to be left to the generals, so is foreign aid too important a matter to be left to the economists. The expertise of the economist is needed to analyze certain facts, devise certain means, and perform certain functions of manipulation for foreign aid. But the formulation and overall execution of foreign-aid policy is a political function that must be performed by the politicial expert.”

A 1963 book stated that “It is a well-established maxim that economics is much too serious a matter to be left to the economists.” A similar saying is: “Politics is too important to be left to the politicians.”


Wikiquote: Georges Clemenceau
Georges Clemenceau (28 September 1841 – 24 November 1929) was a French journalist, physician and statesman. He served as Prime Minister of France from 1906 to 1909 and from 1917 to 1920. He is remembered for his wit and his wartime leadership of France during World War I.
(...)
Sourced
La guerre! C’est une chose trop grave pour la confier à des militaires.
War is too serious a matter to entrust to military men.
Variant translation: War is too important a matter to be left to the military.
. As quoted in Soixante Anneés d’Histoire Française (1932) by Georges Suarez
War is too serious a matter to leave to soldiers.
. As quoted in Clemenceau and the Third Republic (1946) by John Hampden Jackson, p. 228; this has also become commonly paraphrased as: War is too important to be left to the generals.

Google Books
Economic Development:
Theory, History, Policy

By Gerald M. Meier and Robert E. Baldwin
New York, NY: J. Wiley & Sons
1957
Pg. 119:
Limits of an Economic Approach to Development
Someone once quipped that economic development is much too serious a topic to be left to economists. The point, of course, is that the subject soon runs far beyond the usual confines of economic analysis.

Google Books
The Restoration of American Politics
(Politics in the Twentieth Century, Vol. 3)

By Hans Joachim Morgenthau
Chicago, IL: Univ. of Chicago Press
1962
Pg. ?:
As military policy is too important a matter to be left to the generals, so is foreign aid too important a matter to be left to the economists. The expertise of the economist is needed to analyze certain facts, devise certain means, and perform certain functions of manipulation for foreign aid. But the formulation and overall execution of foreign-aid policy is a political function that must be performed by the politicial expert.

Google Books
Area Studies Reconsidered
By Sir Hamilton Alexander Rosskeen Gibb
London: School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
1963
Pg. 12: 
It is a well-established maxim that economics is much too serious a matter to be left to the economists, and we too have to admit, with whatever misgivings, that the Orient is much too important to be left to the Orientalists.

Google Books
A New Foreign Policy for the United States
By Hans J. Morgenthau
New York, NY: Published for the Council on Foreign Relations by F. A. Praeger
1969
Pg. 105:
As military policy is too important a matter to be left to the generals, so foreign aid is too important a matter to be left to the economists. The expertise of the economist is needed to analyze certain facts, devise certain means, and perform certain functions of manipulation for foreign aid. But the formulation and overall execution of foreign-aid policy is a political function that must be performed by the politicial expert.

Google Books
Planning and the Politicians, and Other Essays
By A. H. Hanson
New York, NY: A.M. Kelley
1969
Pg. 127:
It is now generally agreed that economic planning is too important a subject to be left to the economists.

16 August 1971, Fitchburg (MA) Sentinel, “Washington Whirligig” by Don MacLean, pg. 4, col. 2:
They say wars are too important to be left to generals. Yeah, and the economy is too important to be left to economists.

Google Books
The Second American Revolution:
Some personal observations

By John D. Rockefeller
New York, NY: Harper & Row
1973
Pg. 90:
But in the new spirit of “economics being too important to be left to the economists,” I have felt compelled to deal with this difficult subject.

27 April 1975, Cleveland (OH) Plain Dealer, “TheEconomy” by David G. Molyneaux, sec. 4, pg. 1, col. 1:
But as Edgar R. Fiedler, an economist in the administration of President Ford, said last October:

“Like war is too important to be left to the generals, the economy is too important to be left to the economists.”

22 November 1981, Cleveland (OH) Plain Dealer, “Stockman fiasco may give us useful lesson in economics” by Louis Rukeyser, pg. 3E, col. 2:
Economics are too important and too complicated to be left to economists.

GoogleBooks
Management of rural development in the 80’s:
Philippine reflections

By Rogelio V. Cuyno, Melinda F. Lumanta and Mardonia G Ramos
Los Baños: Management of Rural Development Program, University of the Philippines at Los Baños
1982
Pg. 148:
Those of you who are economists, have heard the saying “Economics is too important a matter to be left to the economists.”

17 February 1983, Oregonian (Portland, OR), “Intellectuals lounge at expense of French” by George F. Will, pg. B11, col. 2:
“Just as war is too important to be left to the generals, so is an economic crisis too important to be left to the economists or the practical men,” said John Kenneth Galbraith, who is not guilty of belonging to either group.

Google Books
Knowledge as Value:
Illumination through critical prisms

Edited by Ian Morley and Mira Crouch
New York, NY: Rodopi
2008
Pg. 168:
There is something quite jarring in the populist catch-cry: ‘Economics is far too important to be left to the economists.’ To whom should it be, to whom shall it be left?

Google Books
The Fair Society:
The Science of Human Nature and the Pursuit of Social Justice

By Peter A. Corning
Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press
2011
Pg. 129:
Just as “war is too important to be left to the generals,” to quote the French prime minister Georges Clemenceau’s famous remark during World War I, an economy is too important to be left to the economists.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityBanking/Finance/Insurance • (0) Comments • Wednesday, August 03, 2011 • Permalink