Prof. Kenneth E. Boulding


January 18, 1910 — March 18, 1993


Professor Kenneth E. Boulding was an English-American economist, academic, and peace activist. An interdisciplinary and complex figure, Prof. Boulding received nominations for Nobel Prizes in both economics and peace. He's a difficult figure to describe — a trailblazing economist who blended ideas into digestible yet indescribable bites.


Essential Thoughts


For all its darkness, this is a millennial age. For the first time in human history, a world without poverty and without war is technically possible. It may be, of course, that in the smallness of our minds we shall dash from each other’s mouths the cup of plenty that our skills have fashioned.  The Economics of Peace


The self-image of the state as a potential war maker is so common as to be almost universal, though there are some interesting exceptions in those areas that can be described as stable peace. Thus, in the self-image of the United States in the minds of its decision makers, the idea of a military invasion of Canada is so far below the mental horizon as to be almost, though not quite, nonexistent, and the same goes for the decision makers of Canada. — Stable Peace



War damages psychological capital as well as physical capital, and lowers the economic value of human minds and wills. Despair is more destructive than dynamite, and the greatest obstacle to reconstruction may be the apathy of a war-worn people… In a very real sense, when honesty decays, the true capital values of society decline.— The Economics of Peace


The illusion of national sovereignty is the illusion that in the modern world nations can be independent and irresponsible. It is the irresponsibility of nations that leads to war, and it is their attempt to be independent that leads to international chaos… Nevertheless, our writers and politicians… continue to write and talk as if a sharp distinction could be made between "domestic" and "foreign" affairs… But with the growth of world trade and communications, the area of political action that can that can safely be labeled "domestic" has shrunk to trivial proportions. — The Economics of Peace


The problem of responsible government is more than a political problem: it is a moral problem, affecting the thought and conduct of every individual—even the reader of this page. It is true that environments and institutions modify the character of individuals, yet change in institutions only comes about as a result of changes in the individuals whose character the institutions reflect. — The Economics of Peace