Confidence, Fear, and a Propensity to Gamble

The "Irrational" Rationality of war and Econonics

In 2007 I circulated copies of several rough drafts of chapters for a book titled Gambling on War from Bismarck to Bush.  The book was prompted by George Bush's decision to invade Iraq in the spring of 2004. 

On Why We Have Financial Crises:

"No one was responsible for the great Wall Street Crash.  No one engineered the speculation that preceded it.  Both were the product of the free choice and decision of hundreds of thousands of individuals.  The latter were not led to the slaughter.  They were impelled to do it by the seminal lunacy which has always seized people who are seized in turn with the notion they can become very rich."

John Kenneth Galbraith, The Great Crash
On Why People Start Wars:

"Mortals made these decisions. They made them in fear and in trembling, but they made them nonetheless.  In most cases, the decision makers were not evil people bent on destruction but were frightened and entrapped by self-delusion. They based their policies on fears, not facts, and were singularly devoid of empathy. Misperception, rather than conscious evil design, appears to have been the leading villain in the drama."

John Stoessinger,  Why People Start Wars

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