Something that’s seldom appreciated about me is that I am in sympathy with a great deal of what Marx wrote, except that I’m on the side of the bourgeoisie.
Over time, the welfare state has become dysfunctional in a surprising way. But in a way it became a victim of its own success: It became so successful at prolonging life, that it becomes financially unsustainable, unless you make major changes to things like retirement ages.
A historian is battling all the time to remember as much as possible.
Oral history is a recipe for complete misrepresentation because almost no one tells the truth, even when they intend to.
There aren’t many people who really put their life on the line for human freedom.
I would say I’m a 19th-century liberal, possibly even an 18th-century one.
I think the rise of quantitative econometrics and a highly mathematical approach to risk management was the obverse of a decline in interest in financial history.
It’s all very well for us to sit here in the West with our high incomes and cushy lives, and say it’s immoral to violate the sovereignty of another state. But if the effect of that is to bring people in that country economic and political freedom, to raise their standard of living, to increase their life expectancy, then don’t rule it out.
We historians are increasingly using experimental psychology to understand the way we act. It is becoming very clear that our ability to evaluate risk is hedged by all sorts of cognitive biases. It’s a miracle that we get anything right.
The real point of me isn’t that I’m good looking. It’s that I’m clever. I’ve got a brain! I would rather be called a highly intelligent historian than a gorgeous pouting one.