Jon Thiele
International Development

Getting results

Gender and economic development

Enterprise development and agribusiness

Small holder farmers

In Ukraine

Islamic economics

Promoting cooperatives

Community-based development

Credit in economic development

Economic institutions






A few favorite quotes

All truly wise thoughts have been thought already thousands of times; but to make them truly ours, we must think them over again honestly, till they take root in our personal experience.

Intelligence is the power invariably to see things as they are, to survey them and one's own relations to them with objective disinterestedness, and to apply one's consciousness to them simply and directly, letting it take its own way over them uncharted by prepossession, unchannelled by prejudice, and above all uncontrolled by routine and formula. Those who have this power are everywhere; everywhere they are not so much resisting as quietly eluding and disregarding all social pressure which tends to mechanize their processes of observation and thought.

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.

The past is never dead. It's not even past.

It's extraordinary how we go through life with eyes half shut, with dull ears, with dormant thoughts. Perhaps it's just as well; and it may be that it is this very dullness that makes life to the incalculable majority so supportable and so welcome. Nevertheless, there can be but few of us who have never known one of these rare moments of awakening when we see, hear, understand ever so much- everything- in a flash-- before we fall back again into our agreeable somnolence.

That done, they sat down to tea in the bar, where there was an uncommon display of buttered toast, and-- in order that they might not grow faint for want of sustenance, and might have a decent halting place or halfway house between dinner and supper-- a few savoury trifles in the shape of great rashers of broiled ham, which being well cured, done to a turn, and smoking hot, sent forth a tempting and delicious fragrance. Mrs Varden was seldom very Protestant at meals, unless it happened that they were underdone, or overdone, or indeed that anything occurred to put her out of humour. Her spirits rose considerably on beholding these goodly preparations, and from the nothingness of good works, she passed to the somethingness of ham and toast with great cheerfulness. Nay, under the influence of these wholesome stimulants, she sharply reproved her daughter for being low and despondent (which she considered an unacceptable frame of mind) and remarked, as she held her own plate for a fresh supply, that it would be well for Dolly, who pined over the loss of a toy and a sheet of paper, if she would reflect upon the voluntary sacrifices of the missionaries in foreign parts who lived chiefly on salads.

The pessimists believe that the cosmos is a clock that is running down; the progressives believe it is a clock that they themselves are winding up. But I happen to believe that the world is what we choose to make it, and that we are what we choose to make ourselves; and that our renascence or our ruin will alike, ultimately and equally, testify with a trumpet to our liberty.

Hope springs eternal.
-- Alexander Pope was, by the way, a very cautious man who had many enemies and never went out into the street without his large, aggressive dog, and always with two loaded pistols in his bag.

The American way of stress is comparable to Freud's 'beloved symptom', his name for the cherished neurosis that a patient cultivates like the rarest of orchids and does not want to be cured of. Stress makes Americans feel busy, important, and in demand, and simultaneously deprived, ignored, and victimized. Stress makes them feel interesting and complex instead of boring and simple, and carries an assumption of sensitivity not unlike the Old World assumption that aristocrats were high-strung. In short, stress has become a status symbol.

Falsehood flies, and the truth comes limping after it.

Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedies.

You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality.

The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design.

Government is not reason; it is not eloquent-- it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.

Good fortune is not as blind as it is generally thought to be. It is often nothing more than the result of sound, consistent actions that go unnoticed by the crowd but nonetheless make a particular event possible. Still more often, it is the result of an individual's character, nature, and behavior.