You can’t learn business by reading The Wall Street Journal, it turns out.

The brilliant Horace Dediu in his podcast The Critical Path, episode 100: The Profit Algorithm.

We shall never achieve harmony with land, any more than we shall achieve justice or liberty for people. In these higher aspirations the important thing is not to achieve, but to strive.

Aldo Leopold in A Survey of Conservation, 1938

The River Cottage where Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall makes a Fawlty Towers reference (starting at 10:20).

Our present skill in the care of mechanical engines did not arise from fear lest they fail to do their work. Rather it was born of curiosity and pride of understanding. Prudence never kindled a fire in the human mind; I have no hope for conservation born of fear.

Aldo Leopold in The Farmer as a Conservationist, 1939

All I am saying is that there is also a drama in every bush, if you can see it. When enough men know this, we will need fear no indifference to the welfare of bushes, or birds, or soil, or trees. We shall then have no need of the word conservation, for we shall have the thing itself.

Aldo Leopold in The Farmer as a Conservationist, 1939

What leads to peace is not violence but peaceableness, which is not passivity, but an alert, informed, practiced, and active state of being. We should recognize that while we have extravagantly subsidized the means of war, we have almost totally neglected the ways of peaceableness. We have, for example, several national military academies, but not one peace academy. We have ignored the teachings and the examples of Christ, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and other peaceable leaders. And here we have an inescapable duty to notice also that war is profitable, whereas the means of peaceableness, being cheap or free, make no money.

Wendell Berry in Thoughts in the Presence of Fear for Orion Magazine.

The one great difference is that by now the revolution has deprived the mass of consumers of any independent access to the staples of life: clothing, shelter, food, even water. Air remains the only necessity that the average user can still get for himself, and the revolution has imposed a heavy tax on that by way of pollution. Commercial conquest is far more thorough and final than military defeat.

Wendell Berry in the essay The Unsettling of America.

See related: Dollar Diplomacy, Banana Republics, and Making the World Safe for Democracy.



I am not an optimist; I am afraid that I won’t live long enough to escape my bondage to the machines. Nevertheless, on every day left to me I will search my mind and circumstances for the means of escape. And I am not without hope. I knew a man who, in the age of chainsaws, went right on cutting his wood with a handsaw and an axe. He was a healthier and a saner man that I am. I shall let his memory trouble my thoughts.

Wendell Berry in the essay Feminism, The Body, and The Machine. Published in The Art of the Commonplace.

If you can control a people’s economy, you don’t need to worry about its politics; its politics have become irrelevant. If you control people’s choices as to whether or not they will work, and where they will work, and what they will do, and how well they will do it, and what they will eat and wear, and the genetic makeup of their crops and animals, and what they will do for amusement, then why should you worry about freedom of speech? In a totalitarian economy, any “political liberties” that the people might retain would simply cease to matter.

Wendell Berry in Conserving Forest Communities, published in What Matters?: Economics for a Renewed Commonwealth which keeps blowing my mind.