When Quoting the Work of Others


Some authors have questions about how to effectively use quotations of others’ material when writing. The first lesson is identify the source when you use a quote. Make it plain to the reader of the material who is the rightful author/owner of the quotation.

Do not imply or suggest the words you quote are your own. You can mislead by omitting to name a source. Without a source reference, the implication is that the written words are your own.

The following selection from zerohedge.com, authored by George Washington (pen name) and published on July 26, 2012, gives a good illustration of using quotations in an article. Ignore the politics of the article. Study it for quotation usage skills:

Economist James K. Galbraith wrote in the introduction to his father, John Kenneth Galbraith’s, definitive study of the Great Depression, The Great Crash, 1929:

 
 

The main relevance of The Great Crash, 1929 to the great crisis of 2008 is surely here. In both cases, the government knew what it should do. Both times, it declined to do it. In the summer of 1929 a few stern words from on high, a rise in the discount rate, a tough investigation into the pyramid schemes of the day, and the house of cards on Wall Street would have tumbled before its fall destroyed the whole economy. In 2004, the FBI warned publicly of “an epidemic of mortgage fraud.” But the government did nothing, and less than nothing, delivering instead low interest rates, deregulation and clear signals that laws would not be enforced. The signals were not subtle: on one occasion the director of the Office of Thrift Supervision came to a conference with copies of the Federal Register and a chainsaw. There followed every manner of scheme to fleece the unsuspecting ….

 

This was fraud, perpetrated in the first instance by the government on the population, and by the rich on the poor.

 

***

 

The government that permits this to happen is complicit in a vast crime.

In other words, the fraud started at the very top with Greenspan, Bush, Paulson, Negraponte, Bernanke, Geithner, Rubin, Summers and all of the rest of the boys.

 

As William Black told me today:

 
 

In criminology jargon: they created an intensely criminogenic environment.

The government’s special inspector general in charge of oversight of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (the “TARP” bank bailouts) – Neil M. Barofsky – said today:

 
 

It was a “message to the banks ‘if we commit fraud, we break the rules, don’t worry, we’re too big — they’ll never bring the appropriate steps against us,’” Barofsky says in an interview with The Daily Ticker. “And that is why we’ve had scandal after scandal after scandal.”

 

This was a “global conspiracy to fix one of the most important interest rates in the world,” Barofsky continues. “[Geithner] heard this information and looked the other way. Geithner and other regulators should be held accountable, they should be fired across the board. If they knew about an ongoing fraud, and they didn’t do anything about it, they don’t deserve to have their jobs. I hope we see people in handcuffs.“

Government regulators have become so corrupted and “captured” by those they regulate that Americans know that the cop is on the take.  (Even top justice officials are incredibly cozy with Wall Street fraudsters.)

Institutional corruption is killing people’s trust in our government and our institutions, which is one of the reasons the economy is faltering again.

Indeed, polls show that very few Americans believe that the U.S. government has the “consent of the governed”, a higher percentage of Americans liked King George during the Revolutionary War than like Congress today, and people are publicly discussing whether it’s a good or bad idea to “hang bankers”.

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4 responses »

  1. Great post. Luckily, referencing sources is something I’m very comfortable with given my years of academic writing. It not only gives the originator of the words proper credit, but it allows readers to seek out further information from the original source if they so choose.

  2. Interesting post. In my manuscript, I have song lyrics on the chapter heading pages… I always wonder how to go about seeking permission to use these… it’s a bit of a minefield, eh? Music plays a big part in my life and it’s inevitable that I am going to write about it (often, in fact!).

    Nice work, Fay. 🙂

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