Constantin Gurdgiev: Quotes & recommendations

If you haven't listened to my conversation with Constantin yet you can check it out here. Below is a short compilation of some of my favourite quotes from the interview and a list of the stuff Constantin recommended (books etc). Dave


On his time as an undergrad in LA: “I lived through the collapse of the Soviet Union, several deaths in my family where I couldn’t travel, the LA riots, and subsequently the big earthquake as well.

“Economics to me is not a science, I come from the American tradition that sees economics as art.”

“Human beings are the subject of economics and we as human beings can be simultaneously rational, irrational, mad, calm, psychotic, neurotic, we can make consistent decisions from time to time and inconsistent decisions between those inconsistent decisions. We can and do change our minds and preferences and this is just one individual.”

“As Naseem Taleb has said we, as human beings, are not wired for uncertainty. We tent to trust somebody who speaks with certainty and confidence.”

“Once you understand the limitations (of economics) then you move economics away from this purely scientific type of study to a field where you relate the story, the narrative.”

“Every day, every nanosecond, every minute, every time we make any sort of decision, we are operating in a world of uncertainty. Economists are not god.”

“Irish decision makers got accustomed to the idea of relying on advice which is free but the economists who provide this advice work for vested interests such as trade unions, law firms, multinational corporations. The free lunch does exist but you just don’t want to eat it.”

“If you want to reduce inequality over time you have to imagine wealth as a lake.  You dam a stream and a lake grows, this is the lake of wealth.  On one side of our society we have a very big dam which was built over time and the lake is massive.  On the other side we have a smaller lake and a smaller dam and that’s the rest of us. The big lake didn’t become big just because of the dam it became big because of the stream, the stream of income. If we want to reduce wealth inequality in an economy the irony of ironies is you need to allow people with lower wealth to be able to start accumulating over time more wealth.”


Constantin suggested Nassim Taleb as a good author for anyone who wants to learn more about economics. Check out his author site here. He also mentioned David McWilliams, Morgan Kelly, Brian Lucey, Liam Delaney, and Kevin O’ Rourke as worth following.


It's good to talk

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