"You don't ever want a crisis to go to waste; it's an opportunity to do important things that you would otherwise avoid. In 1974 and 1978 we never dealt with it, and our dependence on foreign oil never changed."
According to Thomas Friedman, this phrase was coined by economist Paul Romer. It echoes the slogan of the United Negro College Fund: A mind is a terrible thing to waste.
A crisis is a terrible thing to waste
There have been lots of people using this phrase in the last few weeks, plus some earlier uses. Here is a small selection.
- Thomas Friedman (New York Times, 18 April 2004)
- Eliot Spitzer (January 2005)
- Arthur Affleck (February 2006)
- Geoff Davis (April 2007)
- John Lee (July 2008)
- Hazel Henderson (September 2008 - good article this one)
- TwinCities (October 2008, article deleted but the comments still there)
- Tim Dollmeyer (October 2008)
- Richard Heinberg (October 2008) via Matt Holbert
- Max McKeown (October 2008)
"A crisis is too precious an event to waste."
A cliché is a terrible thing to waste.