In their own words

Finance made easy

“It’s like buying fire insurance on your neighbor’s house — you create an incentive to burn down the house.” — A German finance expert, quoted in the February 25 New York Times, explaining the financial derivative known as credit-default swaps.

Maturity for sale

“Dr Yudhoyono has presided over a maturing of Indonesia’s government in ways that are hugely valuable for Australia.” — Professor Andrew MacIntyre of the Australian National University, explaining why the Rudd government had the Indonesian president appointed an honorary companion of the Order of Australia.

Improved experience

“[Passengers] are appreciating the improved travel experience that is being produced by the ongoing upgrade.” — A statement released by the management of Sydney Airport a few days before the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission reported that the airport is the worst and most expensive large airport in the country.

Reputation

“They have their reputations to protect … we only hear about the ones that fail. It’s very rare for the companies to be pinged.” — A spokesperson for the Consumer Electronics Suppliers Association, responding to a Sydney Morning Herald report that 38% of electrical appliances failed federal minimum energy performance requirements or understated energy consumption.