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Wealth is the abundance of valuable resources or valuable material possessions. An individual, community, region or country that possesses an abundance of such possessions or resources to the benefit of the common good is known as wealthy.
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- How far, O rich, do you extend your senseless avarice? Do you intend to be the sole inhabitants of the earth? Why do you drive out the fellow sharers of nature, and claim it all for yourselves? The earth was made for all, rich and poor, in common. Why do you rich claim it as your exclusive right? The soil was given to the rich and poor in common—wherefore, oh, ye rich, do you unjustly claim it for yourselves alone? Nature gave all things in common for the use of all; usurpation created private rights. Property hath no rights. The earth is the Lord's, and we are his offspring. The pagans hold earth as property. They do blaspheme God.
- The international community ... allows nearly 3 billion people—almost half of all humanity—to subsist on $2 or less a day in a world of unprecedented wealth.
- Kofi Annan, as quoted in Can Globalization Really Solve Our Problems? in Awake! magazine (22 May 2002)
- He called to mind all the millionaires he had ever read or heard of; they didn't seem to get much fun out of their riches. The majority of them were martyrs to dyspepsia. They were often weighed down by the cares and responsibilities of their position; the only people who were unable to obtain an audience of them at any time were their friends; they lived in a glare of publicity, and every post brought them hundreds of begging letters, and a few threats; their children were in constant danger from kidnappers, and they themselves, after knowing no rest in life, could not be certain that even their tombs would be undisturbed. Whether they were extravagant or thrifty, they were equally maligned, and, whatever the fortune they left behind them, they could be absolutely certain that, in a couple of generations, it would be entirely dissipated.
- Happiness, whether consisting in pleasure or virtue, or both, is more often found with those who are highly cultivated in their minds and in their character, and have only a moderate share of external goods, than among those who possess external goods to a useless extent but are deficient in higher qualities.
- The use of culture is that it helps us, by means of its spiritual standard of perfection, to regard wealth as but machinery, and not only to say as a matter of words that we regard wealth as but machinery, but really to perceive and feel that it is so. If it were not for this purging effect wrought upon our minds by culture, the whole world, the future as well as the present, would inevitably belong to the Philistines. The people who believe most that our greatness and welfare are proved by our being very rich, and who most give their lives and thoughts to becoming rich, are just the very people whom we call the Philistines. Culture says: “Consider these people, then, their way of life, their habits, their manners, the very tones of their voice; look at them attentively; observe the literature they read, the things which give them pleasure, the words which come forth out of their mouths, the thoughts which make the furniture of their minds; would any amount of wealth be worth having with the condition that one was to become just like these people by having it?”
- Matthew Arnold, Culture and Anarchy (1869), chapter 1, "Sweetness and Light"
- There are, while human miseries abound,
A thousand ways to waste superfluous wealth,
Without one fool or flatterer at your board,
Without one hour of sickness or disgust.
- John Armstrong, The Art of Preserving Health (1744), Book II, line 195
- The superfluities of the rich are the necessaries of the poor. They who possess superfluities, possess the goods of others.
- Divitiae bona ancilla, pessima domina.
- Riches are a good handmaiden, but the worst mistress.
- Francis Bacon, De dignitate et augmentis scientiarium, Book VI, Exemplum Antithetorum 6
- In truth, poverty is an anomaly to rich people. It is very difficult to make out why people who want dinner do not ring the bell.
- Walter Bagehot, The Waverly Novels (1858)
- I'm not technically rich, but I do have a lot of shit that I don't need, and I refuse to share with others.
- Maria Bamford, American stand-up commedian. Quote from The Now Show, a radio comedy show on BBC Radio 4, 2006
- If I was as rich as Rockefeller I'd be richer than Rockefeller, because I'd do a bit of window cleaning on the side.
- Ronnie Barker (1929–2005), British actor and comedian. Quotation from The Two Ronnies television series
- The desire for wealth is nearly universal, and none can say it is not laudable, provided the possessor of it accepts its responsibilities, and uses it as a friend to humanity.
- P. T. Barnum, 'Preserve Your Integrity', The Art of Money Getting (1880)
- 'But whom do I treat unjustly,' you say, 'by keeping what is my own?' Tell me, what is your own? What did you bring into this life? From where did you receive it? It is as if someone were to take the first seat in the theater, then bar everyone else from attending, so that one person alone enjoys what is offered for the benefit of all in common — this is what the rich do. They seize common goods before others have the opportunity, then claim them as their own by right of preemption. For if we all took only what was necessary to satisfy our own needs, giving the rest to those who lack, no one would be rich, no one would be poor, and no one would be in need.
- Basil of Caesarea, Saint Basil on Social Justice, edited and translated by C. P. Schroeder (2009), p. 69
- Who are the greedy? Those who are not satisfied with what suffices for their own needs. Who are the robbers? Those who take for themselves what rightfully belongs to everyone. And you, are you not greedy? Are you not a robber? The things you received in trust as a stewardship, have you not appropriated them for yourself? Is not the person who strips another of clothing called a thief? And those who do not clothe the naked when they have the power to do so, should they not be called the same? The bread you are holding back is for the hungry, the clothes you keep put away are for the naked, the shoes that are rotting away with disuse are for those who have none, the silver you keep buried in the earth is for the needy. You are thus guilty of injustice toward as many as you might have aided, and did not.
- Basil of Caesarea, Saint Basil on Social Justice, edited and translated by C. P. Schroeder (2009), p. 70
- Those that have wealth must be watchful and wary,
Power, alas! naught but misery brings!
- Thomas Haynes Bayly (1797–1839), English popular songwriter. I'd be a Butterfly
- The wealth ov a person should be estimated, not bi the amount he haz, but bi the use he makes ov it.
- Josh Billings, His Works, Complete (1873)
- We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both.
- Louis Brandeis, U.S. Supreme Court Justice ~ quoted by Raymond Lonergan in Mr. Justice Brandeis, Great American (1941), p. 42
- N’envions point à une sorte de gens leurs grandes richesses; ils les ont à titre onéreux, et qui ne nous accommoderait point: ils ont mis leur repos, leur santé, leur honneur et leur conscience pour les avoir; cela est trop cher, et il n’y a rien à gagner à un tel marché.
- Let us not envy a certain class of men for their enormous riches; they have paid such an equivalent for them that it would not suit us; they have given for them their peace of mind, their health, their honour, and their conscience; this is rather too dear, and there is nothing to be made out of such a bargain.
- Jean de La Bruyère, Les Caractères (1688), “Of The Gifts of Fortune,” #13
- Health is the greatest gift, contentment is the greatest wealth, a trusted friend is the best relative, Nibbana is the greatest bliss.
- If we command our wealth, we shall be rich and free; if our wealth commands us, we are poor indeed.
- Edmund Burke, Letters on a Regicide Peace
- Penny wise, pound foolish.
- Robert Burton (1577–1640), The Anatomy of Melancholy (1621), 'Democritus to the reader'
- Technology is begining to differentiate the haves and the have nots.
- Michael Capellas, Chief Executive, Compaq Computers. As he stated on The Money Programme, BBC 2, 6th February 2000
- Good thoughts his only friends;
His wealth a well-spent age;
The earth his sober inn,
And quiet pilgrimage.
- Thomas Campion, poet (1567–1620), The Man Upright of Life
- The man who dies leaving behind him millions of available wealth, which was his to administer during his life, will pass away unwept, unhonoured and insung no matter to what uses he leaves the dross which he cannot take with him.
- Andrew Carnegie, The Gospel of Wealth and Other Timely Essays (1900)
- An alien Indian, hailing from afar,
Who in the town of Quito did abide.
And neighbor claimed to be of Bogata,
There having come, I know not by what way,
Did with him speak and solemnly announce
A country rich in emeralds and gold.
- Also, among the things which them engaged, A certain king he told of who, disrobed,
Upon a lake was wont, aboard a raft,
To make oblations, as himself had seen,
His regal form overspread with fragrant oil
On which was laid a coat of powdered gold
From sole of foot unto his highest brow,
Resplendent as the beaming of the sun.
- Arrivals without end, he further said,
Were there to make rich votive offerings
Of golden trinkets and of emeralds rare
And divers other of their ornaments;
And worthy credence these things he affirmed;
The soldiers, light of heart and well content,
Then dubbed him El Dorado, and the name
By countless ways was spread throughout the world.
- Juan de Castellanos, The Quest of El Dorado
- The rich are the scum of the earth in every country.
- G.K. Chesterton (1874–1936), English author and mystery novelist, The Flying Inn (1914)
- The rich live the same all over the world.
- Christian Dior (1905–1957), French fashion designer. Quoted by Stanley Marcus in the book, Christian Dior, The Man who made the World Look New, by Marie-France Pochna (1996)
- Still, if you will not fight for the right when you can easily win without bloodshed; if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may even be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than live as slaves.
- Winston Churchill, The Gathering Storm (vol. 1 of The Second World War), p. 348 (1948). On March 31, 1939, Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain had informed the House of Commons that Britain would support Poland against any action threatening its independence. This marked the end of submission to Germany. Churchill thought the decision should have been made sooner when it would have been easier to stop Germany.
- Men who offer laudatory speeches to the rich ... are insidious because, although mere abundance is by itself quite enough to puff up the souls of its possessors, and to corrupt them, and to turn them aside from the way by which salvation can be reached, these men bring fresh delusion to the minds of the rich by exciting them with the pleasures that come from their immoderate praises, and by rendering them contemptuous of absolutely everything in the world except the wealth which is the cause of their being admired. In the words of the proverb, they carry fire to fire, when they shower pride upon pride, and heap on wealth, heavy by its own nature, the heavier burden of arrogance.
- Jesus said that we could not serve both God and wealth, and it is obvious that Western society is organized in the service of wealth.
- I say that you ought to get rich, and it is our duty to get rich.
- Russell Conwell, Acres of Diamonds (1915)
- Riches have wings, and grandeur is a dream.
- William Cowper, The Task (1785), III, 'The Garden', 263
- And all you men, whom greatness does so please,
Ye feast, I fear, like Damocles.
- Abraham Cowley, “Of Greatness”
- Wealth doesn't confer automatic happiness, whereas people who are not wealthy but very much want to be, believe it will confer almost automatic and unrelieved happiness. This is not true. Part of the reason is that to get the wealth you have to behave in a way that will definitely not make you happy. It's a beautiful circularity.
- Felix Dennis, British magazine publisher, entrepreneur and author. From his interview with David Woodward for Director Magazine, September 2006
- I was not, thank heaven, in a condition which compelled me to make merchandise of Science for the bettering of my fortune.
- René Descartes, Discourse on Method, J. Veitch, trans. (1899), part 1, p. 8
- Virtue cannot dwell with wealth either in a city or in a house.
- Conquest was how wealth was acquired. Not through entrepreneurship, invention or business. Historically, every culture has despised entrepreneurs and merchants. In India, we have the caste system. Who's at the top? The Brahmin or priest. The entrepreneur is one step from the bottom. The Islamic historian Ibn Khaldūn says that looting is morally preferable to entrepreneurship or trade. Why? Because looting is more manly. In looting, you have to beat the guy in open combat to take his stuff. America is based on a different idea. The idea of acquiring wealth not by taking it from someone else. Instead, wealth can be created through innovation, entrepreneurship and trade. Let's take a look at Manhattan. Reportedly in 1626, Native Americans sold Manhattan to the Dutch for $700 in today's money. There's land all over the world now that you can buy for $700. But when the Dutch bought Manhattan, there was no Manhattan. Prices are astronomical today because of what's been built over the past 300 years. Manhattan is the creation of the people who built it, not the original inhabitants who sold it. Manhattan represents the new American ethic of wealth creation. An alternative to conquest.
- Labour is the source of all wealth, the political economists assert. And it really is the source -- next to nature, which supplies it with the material that it converts into wealth. But it is even infinitely more than this. It is the prime basic condition for all human existence, and this to such an extent that, in a sense, we have to say that labour created man himself.
- Wherever big industries displaced manufacture, the bourgeoisie developed in wealth and power to the utmost and made itself the first class of the country. ... Everywhere the proletariat develops in step with the bourgeoisie. In proportion, as the bourgeoisie grows in wealth, the proletariat grows in numbers. For, since the proletarians can be employed only by capital, and since capital extends only through employing labor, it follows that the growth of the proletariat proceeds at precisely the same pace as the growth of capital.
- Whoever prefers the material comforts of life over intellectual wealth is like the owner of a palace who moves into the servants’ quarters and leaves the sumptuous rooms empty.
- Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach, Aphorisms, D. Scrase and W. Mieder, trans. (Riverside, California: 1994), p. 53
- The horseman serves the horse,
The neatherd serves the neat,
The merchant serves the purse,
The eater serves his meat;
'T is the day of the chattel,
Web to weave, and corn to grind;
Things are in the saddle,
And ride mankind.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Ode,” Complete Works (1883), vol. 9, p. 73
- Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me.
- F. Scott Fitzgerald, 'Rich Boy', All the Sad Young Men (1926)
- Wealth is not his that has it, but his that enjoys it.
- Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanack (1736 edition)
- Is passing large sums of wealth on to your children good for them or right for society?
- Bill Gates, in his BBC television interview with Jeremy Paxman
- People yelled Show me the money! and screamed it at me all the time. It was a catchphrase everybody was hungry for. It was accepted because people think that when they look at professional actors and the obscene amounts of money they get. This was making fun of that. It wasn't mean-spirited.
- Cuba Gooding Jr, American actor. From his interview in The Express (UK) newspaper, 18th September 1999
- In vain do they think themselves innocent who appropriate to their own use alone those goods which God gave in common; by not giving to others that which they themselves receive, they become homicides and murderers, inasmuch as in keeping for themselves those things which would alleviate the sufferings of the poor, we may say that every day they cause the death of as many persons as they might have fed and did not. When, therefore, we offer the means of living to the indigent, we do not give them anything of ours, but that which of right belongs to them. It is less a work of mercy which we perform than the payment of a debt.
- I build embankments, I dig ditches. I fill all the meadows with water. When I make water pour into all the reed-beds, my small baskets carry it away. When a canal is cut, or when a ditch is cut, when water rushes out at the swelling of a mighty river, creating lagoons on all sides, I, the Hoe, dam it in. Neither south nor north wind can separate it. The fowler gathers eggs. The fisherman catches fish. People empty bird-traps. Thus the abundance I create spreads over all the lands.
- Wealth changes hands—that is one of its peculiarities.
- Elbert Hubbard. 'George Peabody' Little Journeys to the Homes of Great Businessmen (1916)
- Few rich men own their property. The property owns them.
- Robert Ingersoll, Address to the McKinley League, New York, 29th October 1896
- Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered the innocent one, who was not opposing you.
- They fill their houses through the plunder and losses of others, so that the saying of the philosophers may be fulfilled, 'Every rich man is unjust or the heir of an unjust one.' (Omnis dives aut iniquis aut iniqui haeres.)
- Saint Jerome, Commentary on Jeremiah
- The question is not put how far extends
- His piety, but what he yearly spends;
- Quick, to the business; how he lives and eats;
- How largely gives; how splendidly he treats;
- How many thousand acres feed his sheep;
- What are his rents; what servants does he keep?
- The account is soon cast up; the judges rate
- Our credit in the court by our estate.
- Men accept servility in order to acquire wealth; as if they could acquire anything of their own when they cannot even assert that they belong to themselves.
- Étienne de La Boétie, Discourse on Voluntary Servitude (1548)
- Of a rich man who was niggardly he [Bion] said, That man does not own his estate, but his estate owns him.
- Diogenes Laertius, Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers, Book IV. 'Bion', iii
- ’Tis the worst curse, on this our social world,
Fortune’s perpetual presence—wealth, which now
Is like life’s paramount necessity.
- Letitia Elizabeth Landon, Fisher's Drawing Room Scrap Book, 1834 (1833), 'Shuhur, Jeypore'
- The hearts of the rich are hardened. The existence of the poor is a reproach to them.
- Almost all of us want to be richer than we are, even if we are very rich indeed. To be sure, there are exceptions; saints, ascetics, those who travel light and will not add even the weight of a wallet, a few whose material ambitions are fully satisfied and who therefore truly want nothing further. But the rest of us want more than we have, and the specially thoughtful sometimes wonder whether there could ever come a time when we didn't. The crucial question, though, leaving out of consideration the exempted categories, is: what are we willing to do to increase our wealth?
- Bernard Levin, "Do You Seriously Want to Be Swindled?" The Times, March 23, 1989
- It is best for all to leave each man free to acquire property as fast as he can. Some will get wealthy. I don't believe in a law to prevent a man from getting rich; it would do more harm than good. So while we do not propose any war upon capital, we do wish to allow the humblest man an equal chance to get rich with everybody else. When one starts poor, as most do in the race of life, free society is such that he knows he can better his condition; he knows that there is no fixed condition of labor, for his whole life. I am not ashamed to confess that twenty-five years ago I was a hired laborer, mauling rails, at work on a flat-boat, just what might happen to any poor man's son! I want every man to have the chance, and I believe a black man is entitled to it, in which he can better his condition. When he may look forward and hope to be a hired laborer this year and the next, work for himself afterward, and finally to hire men to work for him! That is the true system.
- None are so deeply interested to resist the present rebellion as the working people. Let them beware of prejudice, working division and hostility among themselves. The most notable feature of a disturbance in your city last summer, was the hanging of some working people by other working people. It should never be so. The strongest bond of human sympathy, outside of the family relation, should be one uniting all working people, of all nations, and tongues, and kindreds. Nor should this lead to a war upon property, or the owners of property. Property is the fruit of labor — property is desirable — is a positive good in the world. That some should be rich, shows that others may become rich, and hence is just encouragement to industry and enterprise. Let not him who is houseless pull down the house of another; but let him labor diligently and build one for himself, thus by example assuring that his own shall be safe from violence when built.
- Nothing is truly great which it is great to despise; wealth, honor, reputation, absolute power—anything in short which has a lot of external trappings—can never seem supremely good to the wise man because it is no small good to despise them. People who could have these advantages if they chose but disdain them out of magnanimity are admired much more than those who actually possess them.
- Longinus, On the Sublime, Ch. 7, Classical and Medieval Literary Criticism: Translations and Interpretations, F. Ungar Pub. Co., 1974, p. 195
- The man who is possessed of wealth, who lolls on his sofa or rolls in his carriage, cannot judge the wants or feelings of the day-laborer.
- James Madison, Statement (1787-06-26) as quoted in Notes of the Secret Debates of the Federal Convention of 1787 by Robert Yates.
- Infinite riches in a little room.
- Christopher Marlowe, The Jew of Malta (c. 1592), Act I, scene 1
- WEALTH. Any income that is at least $100 more a year than the income of one's wife's sister's husband.
- H. L. Mencken (1880–1956), American journalist and critic. From 'maxims' section in, A Book of Burlesques (1920)
- People with advantages are loath to believe that they just happen to be people with advantages. They come readily to define themselves as inherently worthy of what they possess; they come to believe themselves 'naturally' elite, and, in fact, to imagine their possessions and their privileges as natural extensions of their own elite selves.
- C. Wright Mills, The Power Elite (1956), p. 14
- People who are rich want to be richer, but what's the difference? You can't take it with you. The toys get different, that's all. The rich guys buy a football team, the poor guys buy a football. It's all relative.
- Martina Navratilova, Czechoslovakian-American tennis player. Quotation from her autobiography, Martina (1985)
- The other of the rich men said to him "Master, what good thing shall I do and live?" He said to him "Man, perform the law and the prophets." He answered him "I have performed them." He said to him "Go, sell all that thou hast and divide it to the poor, and come, follow me." But the rich man began to scratch his head, and it pleased him not. And the Lord said to him "How can you say 'I have performed the law and the prophets'? seeing that it is written in the law 'Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself,' and look, many of your brothers, sons of Abraham, are clad with dung, dying for hunger, and your house is full of much goods, and there goes out therefrom nought at all unto them." And he turned and said to Simon his disciple, sitting by him, "Simon, son of John, it is easier for a camel to enter through the eye of a needle than a rich man into the kingdom of the heavens.
- I hate almost all rich people, but I think I'd be darling at it.
- Dorothy Parker (1893–1967), American writer, editor and poet. From her interview for The Paris Review, reprinted in Writers at Work, First Series (1958)
- We must mention the higher, nobler wealth, which does not belong to all, but to truly noble and divinely gifted men. This wealth is bestowed by wisdom through the doctrines and principles of ethic, logic and physic, and from these spring the virtues, which rid the soul of its proneness to extravagance, and engender the love of contentment and frugality, which will assimilate it to God. For God has no wants, He needs nothing, being in Himself all-sufficient to Himself, while the fool has many wants, ever thirsting for what is not there, longing to gratify his greedy and insatiable desire, which he fans into a blaze like a fire and brings both great and small within its reach. But the man of worth has few wants, standing midway between mortality and immortality.
- Philo, On The Virtues, pp. 167-169
- If you had enough money, you could hardly commit crimes at all. You just perpetrated amusing little peccadilloes.
- If any man stopped and asked himself whether he’s ever held a truly personal desire, he’d find the answer. He’d see that all his wishes, his efforts, his dreams, his ambitions are motivated by other men. He’s not even struggling for material wealth, but for the second-hander’s delusion—prestige. A stamp of approval, not his own. He can find no joy in the struggle and no joy when he has succeeded. He can’t say about a single thing: this is what I wanted because I wanted it, not because it made my neighbors gape at me. Then he wonders why he’s unhappy.
- To be wealthy has never been a goal of mine. You can only spend so much and you cannot take it with you, so for me leaving a good body of work is more important.
- Philip Andre Mickey Rourke, Jr., American actor and screenwriter. Live magazine, The Mail on Sunday newspaper, 8th November 2009; Interviewed by Chris Sullivan
- Take dead aim on the rich boys. Get them in the crosshairs and take them down.
- Herman Blume in Rushmore (1998)
- There is no Wealth but Life.
- John Ruskin, Unto This Last, IV (1860)
- Wealth is not the same as income. If you make good income each year and spend it all, you are not getting wealthier. You are just living high. Wealth is what you accumulate, not what you spend.
- Thomas J. Stanley & William D. Danko in w:The Millionaire Next Door (1996)
- Consider wealth as an unending misfortune because of the troubles of acquiring, protecting and losing it. Those whose minds are attached to wealth on account of their distracted state have no opportunity for liberation from the suffering of mundane existence.
- Santideva, A Guide to the Bodhisattva Way of Life, V. Wallace and B. Wallace, trans. (1997), § 8.79
- To possess at the outset so much that we can live comfortably, even if only for our own person and without a family, and can live really independently, that is, without working, is a priceless advantage. For it means exemption and immunity from the poverty and trouble attaching to the life of man, and thus emancipation from universal drudgery, the natural lot of earthly mortals. Only under this favour and patronage of fate is a man born truly free; for only so is he really sui juris, master of his own time and powers, and is able to say every morning ‘The day is mine’. And for the very same reason, the difference between the man with a thousand a year and one with a hundred is infinitely less than that between the former and the man who has nothing. But inherited wealth attains its highest value when it has comes to the man who is endowed with mental powers of a high order and who pursues activities that are hardly compatible with earning money. For he is then doubly endowed by fate and can now live for his genius.
- Arthur Schopenhauer, “Aphorisms on the Wisdom of Life,” Parerga und Paralipomena, E. Payne, trans. (1974) Vol. 1, p. 350
- The proper amount of wealth is that which neither descends to poverty nor is far distant from it.
- Seneca the Younger, On Tranquility
- Divitiae enim apud sapientem virum in servitute sunt, apud stultum in imperio.
- Wealth is the slave of a wise man, the master of a fool.
- Seneca the Younger, On the Good Life, 26:1
- Wealth is the slave of a wise man, the master of a fool.
- We have no more right to consume happiness without producing it than to consume wealth without producing it.
- George Bernard Shaw, Candida, I
- The more I see of the moneyed classes, the more I understand the guillotine.
- George Bernard Shaw, Letter, 25 Sept. 1899, in Collected Letters, vol.2, in The Columbia Dictionary of Quotations, p. 791
- Riches are oftener an impediment than a stimulus to action; and in many cases they are quite as much a misfortune as a blessing.
- Samuel Smiles, 19th C Scottish author and reformer. 'Money: Its Use and Abuse', Self-Help (1856), Chapter 10
- Power and riches appear then to be, what they are, enormous and operose machines contrived to produce a few trifling conveniencies to the body, consisting of springs the most nice and delicate, which must be kept in order with the most anxious attention, and which, in spite of all our care, are ready every moment to burst into pieces, and to crush in their ruins their unfortunate possessor. They are immense fabrics, which it requires the labour of a life to raise, which threaten every moment to overwhelm the person that dwells in them, and which while they stand, though they may save him from some smaller inconveniencies, can protect him from none of the severer inclemencies.
- Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, Part 4, Chapter 1
- I'm just a poor millionaire.
- Delia Smith. From her television interview at Norwich City football Club, concerniong her ownership of the club, c. 2000
- To suppose, as we all suppose, that we could be rich and not behave as the rich behave, is like supposing that we could drink all day and keep absolutely sober.
- Logan Pearsall Smith (1865–1946), American essayist and aphorist. 'In the World', Afterthoughts (1931)
- It is the wretchedness of being rich that you have to live with rich people.
- Logan Pearsall Smith, 'In the World', Afterthoughts (1931)
- No rich man is a patriot, no rich man is a friend. They have all only got one fatherland—the Ritz-Carlton; and one friend—the mistress they're promising to divorce their wives for.
- Christina Stead, House of All Nations, pub. by Simon & Schuster (1938)
- It is a mere illusion that, above a certain income, the personal desires will be satisfied and leave a wider margin for the generous impulse.
- Robert Louis Stevenson, 'Henry David Thoreau', Familiar Studies of Men and Books (1882)
- Nothing is more admirable than the fortitude with which millionaires tolerate the disadvantages of their wealth.
- Ploutos, no wonder mortals worship you:
- You are so tolerant of their sins!
- Theognis of Megara, Elegies, Lines 523-524, as translated by Dorothea Wender
- In democratic countries, however opulent a man is supposed to be, he is almost always discontented with his fortune, because he finds that he is less rich than his father was, and he fears that his sons will be less rich than himself.
- Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, 1835–40
- That man is the richest whose pleasures are the cheapest.
- Henry David Thoreau, Journal, 11th March 1856
- The rich man... is always sold to the institution which makes him rich.
- Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience (1849)
- Nothing incites to money-crimes like great poverty or great wealth.
- Mark Twain [Samuel Langhorne Clemens] (1835-1910), American author and humorist. 'More Maxims of Mark,' p. 945, Mark Twain: Collected Tales, Sketches, Speeches, and Essays, 1891-1910, Library of America (1992)
- I'm a very large creator of wealth, I like that. I like finding new companies and investing in them very early and seeing an enormous amount of wealth being generated.
- Alberto Vilar, from his interview in The Sunday Times, 19th March 2000
- I wonder why rich people always grow fat—I suppose it's because there's nothing to worry them.
- Edith Wharton, The House of Mirth (1905)
- As I always say, keep your friends rich, and your enemies rich, and then find out which is which.
- Though they suffer no restriction of choice, in reality even multi-millionaires soon reach the outer limits of purely personal gratification—which should be some satisfaction to the rest of us.
- Alan Whicker, British interviewer, journalist and author. Within Whicker's World (1982)
- What Jesus meant, was this. He said to man, ‘You have a wonderful personality. Develop it. Be yourself. Don’t imagine that your perfection lies in accumulating or possessing external things. Your perfection is inside of you. If only you could realise that, you would not want to be rich. Ordinary riches can be stolen from a man. Real riches cannot. In the treasury-house of your soul, there are infinitely precious things, that may not be taken from you. And so, try to so shape your life that external things will not harm you. And try also to get rid of personal property. It involves sordid preoccupation, endless industry, continual wrong. Personal property hinders Individualism at every step.’
- Oscar Wilde, The Soul of Man Under Socialism
- I have lift up mine hand unto the LORD, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth, That I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich.
- It is more difficult for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God than it is for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle.
- Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where theives break through and steal:
But lay up for your selves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where theives do not break through nor steal.
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
- Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.
- Instruct those who are rich in the present system of things not to be arrogant, and to place their hope, not on uncertain riches, but on God, who richly provides us with all the things we enjoy. Tell them to work at good, to be rich in fine works, to be generous, ready to share.
- O the depth of God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How unsearchable his judgments [are] and past tracing out his ways [are]! For “who has come to know Jehovah’s mind, or who has become his counselor?”
- Wealth maketh many friends; but the poor is separated from his neighbour.
- The rich is the one that rules over those of little means, and the borrower is servant to the man doing the lending.
- He that hasteth to be rich hath an evil eye, And considereth not that poverty shall come upon him.
Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations
- Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 864-67.
- I have mental joys and mental health,
Mental friends and mental wealth,
I've a wife that I love and that loves me;
I've all but riches bodily.
- William Blake, Mammon
- Since all the riches of this world
May be gifts from the devil and earthly kings,
I should suspect that I worshipped the devil
If I thanked my God for worldly things.
- William Blake, Riches
- But I have learned a thing or two; I know as sure as fate,
When we lock up our lives for wealth, the gold key comes too late.
- Will Carleton, The Ancient Miner's Story
- Midas-eared Mammonism, double-barrelled Dilettantism, and their thousand adjuncts and corollaries, are not the Law by which God Almighty has appointed this His universe to go.
- Thomas Carlyle, Past and Present, Chapter VI
- Surplus wealth is a sacred trust which its possessor is bound to administer in his lifetime for the good of the community.
- Andrew Carnegie, Gospel of Wealth
- Las necedades del rico por sentencias pasan en el mundo.
- Non esse cupidum, pecunia est; non esse emacem, vectigal est; contentum vero suis rebus esse, maximae sunt, certissimaeque divitiae.
- Not to be avaricious is money; not to be fond of buying is a revenue; but to be content with our own is the greatest and most certain wealth of all.
- Cicero, Paradoxa, 6. 3
- Give no bounties: make equal laws: secure life and prosperity and you need not give alms.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson, Wealth
- Want is a growing giant whom the coat of Have was never large enough to cover.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson, Wealth
- If your Riches are yours, why don't you take them with you to t'other world?
- Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard (1751)
- Who hath not heard the rich complain
Of surfeits, and corporeal pain?
He barr'd from every use of wealth,
Envies the ploughman's strength and health.
- John Gay, Fables (1727), The Cookmaid, Turnspit, and Ox
- The ideal social state is not that in which each gets an equal amount of wealth, but in which each gets in proportion to his contribution to the general stock.
- Henry George, Social Problems, Chapter VI
- And to hie him home, at evening's close,
To sweet repast, and calm repose.
* * *
From toil he wins his spirits light,
From busy day the peaceful night;
Rich, from the very want of wealth,
In heaven's best treasures, peace and health.
- Thomas Gray, Ode on the Pleasure Arising from Vissisitude, line 87. Last two lines said to have been added by the Rev. William Mason, Gray's biographer
- A little house well fill'd, a little land well till'd, and a little wife well will'd, are great riches.
- Written in a copy of the Grete Herbal (1516). "A little farm well tilled, / A little barn well filled, / A little wife well willed— / Give me, give me." As adapted by James Hook in The Soldier's Return
- Dame Nature gave him comeliness and health,
And Fortune (for a passport) gave him wealth.
- W. Harte, Eulogius, 411
- For wealth, without contentment, climbs a hill,
To feel those tempests which fly over ditches.
- George Herbert, The Church Porch, Stanza 19
- It cannot be repeated too often that the safety of great wealth with us lies in obedience to the new version of the Old World axiom—Richesse oblige.
- Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., A Mortal Antipathy, Introduction
- Base wealth preferring to eternal praise.
- Homer, The Iliad, Book XXIII, line 368. Pope's translation
- These riches are possess'd, but not enjoy'd!
- Homer, The Odyssey, Book IV, line 118. Pope's translation
- Know from the bounteous heavens all riches flow;
And what man gives, the gods by man bestow.
- Homer, The Odyssey, Book XVIII, line 26. Pope's translation
- Imperat aut servit collecta pecunia cuique.
- Riches either serve or govern the possessor.
- Horace, Epistles, I. 10. 47
- Omnis enim res,
Virtus, fama, decus, divina, humanaque pulchris
- For everything divine and human, virtue, fame, and honor, now obey the alluring influence of riches.
- Horace, Satires, II. 3. 94
- Et genus et virtus, nisi cum re, vilior alga est.
- Noble descent and worth, unless united with wealth, are esteemed no more than seaweed.
- Horace, Satires, II. 5. 8
- And you prate of the wealth of nations, as if it were bought and sold,
The wealth of nations is men, not silk and cotton and gold.
- Richard Hovey, Peace
- We are not here to sell a parcel of boilers and vats, but the potentiality of growing rich beyond the dreams of avarice.
- Samuel Johnson, remarking on the sale of Thrale's Brewery (1781)
- Poor worms, they hiss at me, whilst I at home
Can be contented to applaud myself, * * * with joy
To see how plump my bags are and my barns.
- Ben Jonson, Every Man Out of His Humour, Act I, scene 1
- Private credit is wealth, public honour is security. The feather that adorns the royal bird supports his flight; strip him of his plumage, and you fix him to the earth.
- Junius, Letter 42. Jan. 30, 1771
- Rarus enim ferme sensus communis in illa
- Common sense among men of fortune is rare.
- Juvenal, Satires, VIII. 73
- Dives fieri qui vult
Et cito vult fieri.
- He who wishes to become rich wishes to become so immediately.
- Juvenal, Satires, XIV. 176
- Facile est momento quo quis velit, cedere possessione magnæ fortunæ; facere et parare eam, difficile atque arduum est.
- It is easy at any moment to resign the possession of a great fortune; to acquire it is difficult and arduous.
- Livy, Annales, XXIV. 22
- The rich man's son inherits cares;
The bank may break, the factory burn,
A breath may burst his bubble shares,
And soft, white hands could hardly earn
A living that would serve his turn.
- James Russell Lowell, The Heritage
- Our Lord commonly giveth Riches to such gross asses, to whom he affordeth nothing else that is good.
- Martin Luther, Colloquies, p. 90. (Ed. 1652)
- You often ask me, Priscus, what sort of person I should be, if I were to become suddenly rich and powerful. Who can determine what would be his future conduct? Tell me, if you were to become a lion, what sort of a lion would you be?
- Martial, Epigrams (c. 80-104 AD), Book XII, Epigram 92
- Those whom we strive to benefit
Dear to our hearts soon grow to be;
I love my Rich, and I admit
That they are very good to me.
Succor the poor, my sisters,—I
While heaven shall still vouchsafe me health
Will strive to share and mollify
The trials of abounding wealth.
- Edward Sandford Martin, A Little Brother of the Rich
- The little sister of the Poor
* * * *
The Poor, and their concerns, she has
Monopolized, because of which
It falls to me to labor as
A Little Brother of the Rich.
- Edward Sandford Martin, A Little Brother of the Rich
- But wealth is a great means of refinement; and it is a security for gentleness, since it removes disturbing anxieties.
- Ik Marvel, Reveries of a Bachelor, Over his Cigar, III
- Let none admire
That riches grow in hell; that soil may best
Deserve the precious bane.
- I am rich beyond the dreams of avarice.
- Edward Moore, The Gamester, Act II, scene 2
- Opum furiata cupido.
- The ungovernable passion for wealth.
- Ovid, Fasti, I. 211
- Effodiuntur opes irritamenta malorum.
- Riches, the incentives to evil, are dug out of the earth.
- Ovid, Metamorphoses, I. 140
- Embarras des richesse.
- Embarrassment of riches.
- Title of a French Comedy played at the Haymarket, London (Oct. 9, 1738). Translation by Ozell
- Opes invisæ merito sunt forti viro,
Quia dives arca veram laudem intercipit.
- Riches are deservedly despised by a man of honor, because a well-stored chest intercepts the truth.
- Phaedrus, Fables, IV. 12. 1
- Nemini credo, qui large blandus est dives pauperi.
- I trust no rich man who is officiously kind to a poor man.
- Plautus, Aulularia, II. 2. 30
- Get place and wealth, if possible, with grace;
If not, by any means get wealth and place.
- Alexander Pope, Epistles of Horace, Epistle I, Book I, line 103
- What riches give us let us then inquire:
Meat, fire, and clothes. What more? Meat, clothes, and fire.
Is this too little?
- Alexander Pope, Moral Essays (1731-35), Epistle III, line 79
- All gold and silver rather turn to dirt!
As 'tis no better reckon'd, but of those
Who worship dirty gods.
- If thou art rich, thou art poor;
For, like an ass whose back with ingots bows,
Thou bear'st thy heavy riches but a journey,
And death unloads thee.
- O what a world of vile ill-favour'd faults
Looks handsome in three hundred pounds a year!
- Through life's dark road his sordid way he wends,
An incarnation of fat dividends.
- Sprague, Curiosity, Stanza 25
- No, he was no such charlatan—
Count de Hoboken Flash-in-the-Pan—
Full of gasconade and bravado,
But a regular, rich Don Rataplane,
Santa Claus de la Muscavado,
Senor Grandissimo Bastinado!
His was the rental of half Havana
And all Matanzas; and Santa Ana,
Rich as he was, could hardly hold
A candle to light the mines of gold
Our Cuban owned.
- Edmund Clarence Stedman, The Diamond Wedding, Stanza 7
- The man is mechanically turned, and made for getting…. It was very prettily said that we may learn the little value of fortune by the persons on whom Heaven is pleased to bestow it
- Richard Steele, Tatler, No. 203
- If Heaven had looked upon riches to be a valuable thing, it would not have given them to such a scoundrel.
- Jonathan Swift, letter to Miss Vanhomrigh (12 August 1720)
- Repente dives nemo factus est bonus.
- No good man ever became suddenly rich.
- Syrus, Maxims
- He that is proud of riches is a fool. For if he be exalted above his neighbors because he hath more gold, how much inferior is he to a gold mine!
- Jeremy Taylor, Holy Living, Of Humility, Chapter II, scene 4
- Can wealth give happiness? look round and see
What gay distress! what splendid misery!
Whatever fortunes lavishly can pour,
The mind annihilates, and calls for more.
- Edward Young, Love of Fame (1725-28), Satire V, line 394
- Much learning shows how little mortals know;
Much wealth, how little worldlings can enjoy.
- Edward Young, Night Thoughts (1742-1745), Night VI, line 519
Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895)
- The rich are like beasts of burden, carrying treasure all day, and at the night of death unladen; they carry to their grave only the bruises and marks of their toil.
- Augustine of Hippo, p. 523
- Seek not proud riches, but such as thou mayest get justly, use soberly, distribute cheerfully, and leave contentedly.
- Francis Bacon, p. 521
- How many threadbare souls are to be found under silken cloaks and gowns!
- Thomas Brooks, p. 523
- Worldly wealth is the devil's bait; and those whose minds feed upon riches recede, in general, from real happiness, in proportion as their stores increase.
- Robert Burton, p. 522
- It is not the fact that a man has riches which keeps him from the kingdom of heaven, but the fact that riches have him.
- J. Caird, p. 523
- There is a burden of care in getting riches, fear in keeping them, temptation in using them, sorrow in losing them, and a burden of account at last to be given up concerning them.
- Matthew Henry, p. 521
- Get rich, if you will — you take great risks. But Christianity does not say to any man, You must be worth only so much, extend your business only so far. It says, Use your riches for the glory of God. If they once usurp His place, woe to you!
- Herrick Johnson, p. 521
- If by the consecration of my earthly possessions to some extent, I can make the Christian character practically more lovely, and illustrate, in my own case, that the highest enjoyments here are promoted by the free use of the good things intrusted to us, what so good use can I make of them?
- Amos Lawrence, p. 521
- But Christian faith knows that wealth means responsibility, and that responsibility may come to mean only heavy arrears of sin.
- Henry Parry Liddon, p. 522
- Riches are the pettiest and least worthy gifts which God can give a man. What are they to God's word? Yea, to bodily gifts, such as beauty and health, or to the gifts of the mind, such as understanding, skill, wisdom? Yet men toil for them day and night, and take no rest. Therefore our Lord God commonly gives riches to foolish people to whom He gives nothing else.
- Martin Luther, p. 523
- If you will be rich, you must be content to pay the price of falling into temptation and a snare and many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in perdition; and if that price be too high to pay, then you must be content with the quiet valleys of existence, where alone it is well with us; kept out of the inheritance, but having instead God for your portion — your all-sufficient and everlasting portion—peace and quietness and rest in Christ.
- Frederick William Robertson, p. 522
- O, my God! withhold from me the wealth to which tears and sighs and curses cleave. Better none at all than wealth like that.
- Christian Scriver, p. 522
- Nature does not conquer the world to God. It never has. It never will. In America, with its vast abounding wealth, its grand expanse of prairie, its reach of river, and its exuberant productiveness, there is danger that our riches will draw us away from God, and fasten us to earth; that they will make us not only rich, but mean; not only wealthy, but wicked. The grand corrective is the cross of Christ, seen in the sanctuary where the life and light of God are exhibited, and where the reverberation of the echoes from the great white throne are heard.
- Richard Salter Storrs, p. 522
Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations (1989)
- James H. Billington; Library of Congress (2010). Platt, Suzy. ed. Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations. Dover Publications. ISBN 9780486472881.
- "I was told", continued Egremont, "that an impassable gulf divided the Rich from the Poor; I was told that the Privileged and the People formed Two Nations, governed by different laws, influenced by different manners, with no thoughts or sympathies in common; with an innate inability of mutual comprehension".
- Benjamin Disraeli, Sybil, or, The Two Nations, ed. Thom Braun, book 4, chapter 8, p. 299 (1980). First published in 1845
- This country cannot afford to be materially rich and spiritually poor.
- John F. Kennedy, State of the Union address, January 14, 1963. The Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: John F. Kennedy, 1963, p. 13. Inscription on the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington, D.C.
- I take it that it is best for all to leave each man free to acquire property as fast as he can. Some will get wealthy. I don't believe in a law to prevent a man from getting rich; it would do more harm than good.
- Abraham Lincoln, speech at New Haven, Connecticut, March 6, 1860; in Roy P. Basler, ed., The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln (1953), vol. 4, p. 24