Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Quote of the Day 27th August 2013 - Einstein on Compound Interest

Albert Einstein was, of course, a physicist.

He is, however, often credited with a statements about the power of compound interest. Unfortunately a lot of people who have attempted tp find any proof that he ever said or wrote any of the statements frequently attributed to him have been unable to do so. The earliest attribution of any variant of the quote which anyone has been able to trace was in the New York Times in 1983, and Einstein died in 1955.

So to say the least, it is not confirmed that Albert Einstein ever said

"Compound interest is the most powerful force in the universe"

or

“Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it ... he who doesn't ... pays it.”

or even some variant on

"Compound interest, not E = M C squared, is the most important mathematical discovery of all time."

But even if Albert Einstein never said any of these things, it is true that compound interest, if continued for long enough to allow the real value of an investment to double repeatedly (which usually means decades, can have trly dramatic effects.

Unfortunately the same is true of negative real interest rates ... (see next post)

6 comments:

Jim said...

I think his greatest ever quote (and it applies to current currency problems) has to be:

"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

Jim said...

If i may I would just like to go off topic, though at the moment its very topical.

Syria - who fired the chemical weopons? - I would argue it was the NATO funded rebels. This will then be twisted so its now the Syrian government to allow the US to strike on the Syrian government in the name of "humanitarian reasons". So what does this mean? - well attack Syria and there is one country who are bound to join in, that is of course Iran. Iran has been in the US cross hairs for years, though (not through lack of trying) the US has never managed to launch an attack on any grounds the public will accept. So they are being forced to use the "back door"

Why Iran? - a large oil producer who are currently trading oil with russia and china using the Yuan, the Yuan is becoming more and more set to become the global reserve currency the final act will be gold backing, this will crash the US Dollar, so the US are desperate to prevent this happening.

Now you may think i am trying to spread some mad consipiricy theory here, and thats ok, think that. Though you may change your mind as this all pans out exactly the way i am predicting

Chris Whiteside said...

The authenticity of the "Two things are infinite" quote which was attributed to Einstein by Frederick Perls is dicussed on the "Quote Investigator" website at http://quoteinvestigator.com/2010/05/04/universe-einstein/

There a much greater chance that Albert Einstein said something of the sort than the compound interest quote, though it seems likely that over the years Perls' memory gradually improved the quote.

Agree that it's a good quote.

On Syria, we need to be reasonably certain who actually made the attack before taking any action against the assumed perpetrators.

I have my doubts that the rebels would have been able to frame the government for a poison gas attack - it is much more likely that the government could obtain poison gas than that a collection of rebels could - but it is important to make sure of the facts.

Jim said...

Syria - I personally agree with you.

But, to quote the greatest person ever "Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will"

I think that is more where we are with the US and Syria/Iran

Jim said...

when i say "i agree with you, I mean its much more likely the government could obtain poisonous gas than the rebels could, that is very true. Now ask yourself the blatently obvious question. - which government?

Chris Whiteside said...

I presume you are suggesting that a neighbouring government might have given the rebels poison gas with a view to framing the Syrian regime and causing a Western intervention which might go horribly wrong?

We can't rule out the possibility that one of the regimes in the Middle East might be mad enough to try such a thing.

The previous President of Iran was so completely bonkers that I wouldn't rule out anything where he was concerned, and although the new President of Iran seems vastly more sane the real power in that country does not lie with the elected officials.

What I don't believe is that anyone could bring off something like that without the truth eventually coming out. Too many of the people you would have to use as intermediaries are fanatics or otherwise impossible to control.

Which isn't intended to dismiss your suggestion - I'm agreeing that we need to fully investigate what actually happened before trying to do anything about it.