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Thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother: But thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need, in that which he wanteth. ~ Deuteronomy
Poverty is never dishonourable in itself, but only when it is a mark of sloth, intemperance, extravagance, or thoughtlessness. When, on the other hand, it is the handmaid of a sober, industrious, righteous, and brave man, who devotes all his powers to the service of the people, it is the sign of a lofty spirit that harbours no mean thoughts. ~ Plutarch
Holy poverty … is the foundation and guardian of all virtues. ... The kingdom of heaven truly belongs to those who, of their own will, a spiritual intention, and a desire for eternal goods, possess nothing of this earth. ~ The Sacred Exchange between Saint Francis and Lady Poverty
If a poor person envies a rich person, he is no better than the rich person. ~ Leo Tolstoy

Poverty is a state in which an individual, group, or population lack essential elements of life within their societies. This usually has the connotation of a lack of basic survival items like food, clothing, shelter, and health care, or the financial means to obtain these, but can also mean having less tangible problems like social exclusion, dependency, and the ability to participate in society. Its exact meaning varies considerably with context and the social environments involved.

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  • 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, "Can Globalization Really Solve Our Problems?" Awake! magazine, May 22, 2002.
  • One would have thought that it was even more necessary to limit population than property; and that the limit should be fixed by calculating the chances of mortality in the children, and of sterility in married persons. The neglect of this subject, which in existing states is so common, is a never-failing cause of poverty among the citizens; and poverty is the parent of revolution and crime.
  • But let us realize what sort of rich people. Here comes heaven knows who across our path, wrapped in rags, and he has been jumping for joy and laughing on hearing it said that the rich man can’t enter the kingdom of heaven; and he’s been saying, “I, though, will enter; that’s what theses rags will earn me; those who treat s badly and insult us, those who bear down hard upon us won’t enter; no, that sort certainly won’t enter. But just a minute, Mr. Poor Man; consider whether you can, in fact, enter. What if you’re poor, and also happen to be greedy? What if you’re sunk in destitution, and at the same time on fire with avarice? So if that’s what you’re like, whoever you are that are poor, it’s not because you haven’t wanted to be rich, but because you haven’t been able to. So God doesn’t inspect your means, but he observes your will. So if that’s what you’re like, leading a bad life, of bad morals, a blasphemer, an adulterer, a drunkard, proud, cross yourself off the list of God’s poor; you won’t be among those of whom it is said, Blessed are the poor in spirit, since theirs is the kingdom of heaven (Mt 5:3).
    • Augustine, Sermon 346A:6 (c. 399 A.D.) "On the Word of God as Leader of the Christians on Their Pilgrimage," Works of Saint Augustine: A Translation for the 21st Century, III/10, Sermons, 341-400, New City Press, Edmund Hill O.P., trans., (1995), ISBN 1565480554 ISBN 9781565480285 , p. 74.[2]


  • 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.
  • Anyone who has ever struggled with poverty knows how extremely expensive it is to be poor.
    • James Baldwin "Fifth Avenue, Uptown: a Letter from Harlem" in Esquire (July 1960); republished in Nobody Knows My Name: More Notes of a Native Son (1961)
  • That is why despite its imperfections, the European Union can be, and indeed is, a powerful inspiration for many around the world. Because the challenges faced from one region to the other may differ in scale but they do not differ in nature. We all share the same planet. Poverty, organised crime, terrorism, climate change: these are problems that do not respect national borders. We share the same aspirations and universal values: these are progressively taking root in a growing number of countries all over the world. We share “l’irréductible humain, the irreducible uniqueness of the human being. Beyond our nation, beyond our continent, we are all part of one mankind. Jean Monnet, ends his Memoirs with these words: “Les nations souveraines du passé ne sont plus le cadre où peuvent se résoudre les problèmes du présent. Et la communauté elle-même n’est qu’un étape vers les formes d’organisation du monde de demain.” (“The sovereign nations of the past can no longer solve the problems of the present. And the [European] Community itself is only a stage on the way to the organised world of the future.”) This federalist and cosmopolitan vision is one of the most important contributions that the European Union can bring to a global order in the making.
  • Come away; poverty's catching.
    • Aphra Behn (1640-1689), English dramatist, The Rover, Part 2. I. (1681).
  • In the affairs of this world, poverty alone is without envy.
  • There was a time when people of the rich nations of the world regarded poverty as a "natural condition" for those living in the poor nations of the world. ... Today we have largely been stripped of this pseudo-innocence. We know that the poor are so poor because the rich are so rich, that the causes of poverty can be traced to deliberate decisions and deliberate economic and political policies designed to benefit the rich and powerful. We know that poverty and unemployment are not just accidents of history but deliberate, even indispensable, components of capitalism as an economic system.
  • Poverty looks grim to grown people; still more so to children: they have not much idea of industrious, working, respectable poverty; they think of the word only as connected with ragged clothes, scanty food, fireless grates, rude manners and debasing vices: poverty for me was synonymous with degradation.
  • Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong!. I have as much soul as you, and full as much heart! And if God had gifted me with some beauty and much wealth, I should have made it as hard for you to leave me, as it is now for me to leave you. I am not talking to you now through the medium of custom, conventionalities, nor even of mortal flesh: it is my spirit that addresses your spirit; just as if both had passed through the grave, and we stood at God's feet, equal — as we are!”
  • S’il est vrai que l’on soit pauvre par toutes les choses que l’on désire, l’ambitieux et l’avare languissent dans une extrême pauvreté.
    • If it is true that one is poor on account of all the things one wants, the ambitious and the avaricious languish in extreme poverty.
    • Jean de La Bruyère, Les Caractères (1688), “Of The Gifts of Fortune,” #49


  • The fact is, people work hard and rely on Food Stamps—or SNAP Program—to be able to feed their families. When they work full-time they still live in poverty. That's wrong in our nation. Students who are losing hope because of the difficulty of finding jobs in this tough economy. What we need to do, what is best for America, is to raise wages, create jobs, and then we will move forward. Hard-working people are trying their best, but those who hold on to capital are not sharing the wealth, and there is the problem.
  • Dr. Warton complied with this proposal, to which (as his circumstances were narrow) it must be-hoped that his poverty consented rather than his will.
    • Thomas Campbell, "Joseph Warton", Specimens of the British poets (1819), p. 320.
  • There is a solitude in poverty, but a solitude which restores to each thing its value.
    • Albert Camus (1913-1960), "Between Yes and No," World Review magazine, March 1950.
  • La pauvreté met le crime au rabais.
  • The concept of human poverty also entails the recognition of gender inequality as an essential part of poverty. Measures of income-poverty are usually made at the household level and do not capture intra-household disparities. A gendered approach to human poverty would involve examining how resources such as food, education, health services, and productive assets are distributed within the household.
  • The poor, by thinking unceasingly of money, reach the point of losing the spiritual advantages of non-possession, thereby sinking as low as the rich.
  • The God who appears to me is the comforter of the poor and their avenger in world history. This avenger of the poor is the God I love.
    • Hermann Cohen, The Concept of Religion in the System of Philosophy (1915), p. 81


  • How long will you a defend the unjust
    and show partiality to the wicked?
    Defend the weak and the fatherless;
    uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.
    Rescue the weak and the needy;
    deliver them from the hand of the wicked.
  • Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.
    • Frederick Douglass, Speech on the twenty-fourth anniversary of Emancipation in the District of Columbia, Washington, D.C. (April 1886).




  • There's no scandal like rags, nor any crime so shameful as poverty.
  • It is not true (what some people imagine) "that the common law of England made no provision for the poor": the Mirror shews the contrary. How, indeed, it was done does not appear.
    • Foster, J., Rex v. Loxdale (1758), 1 Burr. Part IV. 450; reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 198.
  • Holy poverty … is the foundation and guardian of all virtues. ... The kingdom of heaven truly belongs to those who, of their own will, a spiritual intention, and a desire for eternal goods, possess nothing of this earth.
  • When he [Jesus] chose some of the indispensable witnesses to his holy preaching and to his glorious manner of living for the salvation of the human race, he surely did not choose rich merchants but poor fishermen, to show by such esteem that you [Poverty] were to be loved by all. Finally, to reveal to everyone your goodness, magnificence, dignity and strength, how you surpass all other virtues, how nothing can be a virtue without you.


  • In the Bible poverty is a scandalous condition inimical to human dignity and therefore contrary to the will of God.


  • The poverty pimps have to keep changing the definition of poor to keep the dollars flowing.
  • If the plaintiff could have gone away from the dangerous place without incurring the risk of losing his means of livelihood, the case might have been different; but he was obliged to be there; his poverty, not his will, consented to incur the danger.
    • Henry Hawkins, Thrussell v. Handyside, L.R. 20 Q.B.D. 359, 364 (1888).
  • While global real GDP has nearly tripled since 1980, the number of people living in poverty, below $5 per day, has increased by more than 1.1 billion. Why is this? Because past a certain point, GDP growth begins to produce more negative outcomes than positive ones - more 'illth' than wealth.
    • Jason Hickel, The Divide: Global Inequality from Conquest to Free Markets (2018), p. 285
  • Who sees not, that whosoever ministers to the poor, ministers to God? as it appears in that solemn sentence of the last day, Inasmuch as you did feed, clothe, lodge the poor, you did it unto me.
    • Sir Henry Hobart, 1st Baronet, C.J., Pits v. James (1614), Lord Hobart's Rep. 125; reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 198.
  • People from all sectors of society, including business, government and community must all work together to reduce poverty at its source, by ensuring that all have access to fairly paid work, to decent public services, and to income support in times of need.
During the election, Prime Minister Harper ended some of his speeches with the words “God bless Canada.” Indeed, the prophet Isaiah says that God blesses you when you “share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house” (Isaiah 58.7). We urge the Prime Minister to spend tax dollars now in a way that will bring the homeless poor into their own house, and allow them the dignity of sharing their bread with others.


  • An estimated 75 million to 80 million more people in Asia and the Pacific were pushed into extreme poverty because of disruptions in economic activity due to COVID-19 last year, according to a recent report from the Asian Development Bank. Before the pandemic, the percent of the population living in extreme poverty was expected to decrease... While there has been progress in overall school completion rates in the region, the poorest 40% of children are still st ruggling for basic education and half of the countries that reported data documented reading and numeracy scores below 50%...The pandemic has exacerbated this. Nearly half of the 463 million students globally who did not have access to online-based learning, or other educational broadcast platforms such as radio and television during school shutdowns were in the East Asia, Pacific subregions and South Asia regions.
  • If those who lead you say, 'See, the Kingdom is in the sky,' then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, 'It is in the sea,' then the fish will precede you. Rather, the Kingdom is inside of you, and it is outside of you. When you come to know yourselves, then you will become known, and you will realize that it is you who are the children of the living Father. But if you will not know yourselves, you dwell in poverty and it is you who are that poverty.
  • For the first time in our history it is possible to conquer poverty.
  • This administration today, here and now, declares unconditional war on poverty in America. I urge this Congress and all Americans to join with me in that effort.
    • Lyndon B. Johnson, State of the Union address, delivered to a joint session of Congress (January 8, 1964); in Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Lyndon B. Johnson, 1963–64, book 1, p. 114.
  • When two-thirds of the world's population still go to bed hungry every night, when hundreds of millions need shoes and Warmth, medicines and nourishment to prevent them from dying years before their time, the dereliction of science to reducing the greater part of the earth's surface to radio-active shambles is worse than a crime. It is a sin against the light.
  • Poverty is an abstraction, even for the poor. But the symptoms of collective impoverishment are all about us. Broken highways, bankrupt cities, collapsing bridges, failed schools, the unemployed, the underpaid and the uninsured: all suggest a collective failure of will. These shortcomings are so endemic that we no longer know how to talk about what is wrong, much less set about repairing it. And yet something is seriously amiss. Even as the US budgets tens of billions of dollars on a futile military campaign in Afghanistan, we fret nervously at the implications of any increase in public spending on social services or infrastructure.
    • Tony Judt, Ill Fares the Land (2010), Ch. 1 : The Way We Live Now
  • Nil habet infelix paupertas durius in se
    Quam quod ridiculos homines facit.
    • Poverty is bitter, but it has no harder pang than that it makes men ridiculous.


  • Though in a state of society some must have greater luxuries and comforts than others, yet all should have the necessaries of life; and if the poor cannot exist, in vain may the rich look for happiness or prosperity. The legislature is never so well employed as when they look to the interests of those who are at a distance from them in the ranks of society. It is their duty to do so: religion calls for it; humanity calls for it; and if there are hearts who are not awake to either of those feelings, their own interests would dictate it.
    • Lord Kenyon, Rex v. Rusby (1800), Peake's N. P. Cases 192; reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 198-199.
  • The sacred stories have among other qualities also this remarkable characteristic, that in all their simplicity they nevertheless always get everything said that ought to be said. This is also the case with the Gospel about the rich man and the poor man. Neither Lazarus’s misery nor the rich man’s luxury is elaborated and described, yet one incident is added that is worth nothing. It is told that Lazarus, full of sores, was laid at the rich man’s door, but he dogs came and licked his sores. What is this supposed to portray in the rich man? Mercilessness, or, more exactly, inhuman mercilessness. In order to illustrate mercifulness, one can use a merciful person who is placed alongside. This is the way it is done in the story of the merciful Samaritan, who by contrast illuminates the Levite and the priest. But the rich man was inhuman, and therefore the Gospel makes use of the dogs. What a contrast! Now, we shall not exaggerate say that a dog can be merciful, but in contrast to the rich man it seems as if the dogs were merciful. What is shocking is that when the human being had abandoned mercifulness, the dogs had to be merciful. But there is something else in this comparison between the rich man and the dogs. The rich man had it abundantly enough in his power to do something for Lazarus, the dogs were able to do nothing, and yet it is as if the dogs were merciful.
  • Anyone who feels, and there are still a lot of people who feel that way, that war can solve the social problems facing mankind is sleeping through a great revolution. … This day we are spending five hundred thousand dollars to kill every Vietcong soldier. Every time we kill one we spend about five hundred thousand dollars while we spend only fifty-three dollars a year for every person characterized as poverty-stricken in the so-called poverty program, which is not even a good skirmish against poverty.
    • Martin Luther King Jr. Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution, National Cathedral, Washington, DC, 31 March 1968


  • Few save the poor feel for the poor,
    The rich know not how hard
    It is to be of needful food
    And needful rest debarred.
    • Letitia Elizabeth Landon Fisher's Drawing Room Scrap Book, 1836 (1835) 'The Widow's Mite'. Re-used in Ethel Churchill (1837), Vol III Chapter 5
  • We spend our lives fighting to get people very slightly more stupid than ourselves to accept truths that the great men have always known. They have known for thousands of years that to lock a sick person into solitary confinement makes him worse. They have known for thousands of years that a poor man who is frightened of his landlord and of the police is a slave. They have known it. We know it. But do the great enlightened mass of the British people know it? No. It is our task, Ella, yours and mine, to tell them. Because the great men are too great to be bothered. They are already discovering how to colonise Venus and to irrigate the moon. That is what is important for our time. You and I are the boulder-pushers. All our lives, you and I, we’ll put all our energies, all our talents into pushing a great boulder up a mountain. The boulder is the truth that the great men know by instinct, and the mountain is the stupidity of mankind.


  • Poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. And overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life. While poverty persists, there is no true freedom.
  • It is easy enough to tell the poor to accept their poverty as God's will when you yourself have warm clothes and plenty of food and medical care and a roof over your head and no worry about the rent. But if you want them to believe you—try to share some of their poverty and see if you can accept it as God's will yourself!
    • Thomas Merton, Seeds of Contemplation (1949), chapter 14, p. 107.
  • Real poverty comes only to those who indulge in food and drink. They have made themselves poor.


  • Poverty is never dishonourable in itself, but only when it is a mark of sloth, intemperance, extravagance, or thoughtlessness. When, on the other hand, it is the handmaid of a sober, industrious, righteous, and brave man, who devotes all his powers to the service of the people, it is the sign of a lofty spirit that harbours no mean thoughts
    • Plutarch, Comparison of Aristides and Cato.


  • Will you touch, will you mend me Christ?
    Won't you touch, will you heal me Christ?
    Will you kiss, can you cure me Christ?
    Won't you kiss, won't you pay me Christ?
See my eyes, I can hardly see
See me stand, I can hardly walk
I believe you can make me whole
See my tongue, I can hardly talk.
See my skin, I'm a mass of blood
See my legs, I can hardly stand
I believe you can make me well
See my purse, I'm a poor, poor man.
  • Judas: Hey-hey-hey
    Woman your fine ointment - brand new and expensive
    Should have been saved for the poor
    Why has it been wasted? We could have raised maybe
    Three hundred silver pieces or more
    People who are hungry, people who are starving
    They matter more than your feet and hair
  • We are the first nation in the history of the world to go to the poor house in an automobile.
    • As quoted in How We Elect Our Presidents (1952), edited by Donald Day, p. 111
    • Variants: We'll hold the distinction of being the only Nation in the history of the world that ever went to the poor house in an automobile.
      We hold the distinction of being the only nation in the history of the world that went to the poor-house in an automobile.
      We hold the distinction of being the only nation that is goin' to the poorhouse in an automobile.
  • We are the first nation to starve to death in a storehouse that's overfilled with everything we want.
    • Will Rogers, Daily Telegram #1355, The First Good News of the 1928 Campaign! Mr. Rogers Says He Will Not Run For Anything (26 November 1930)
  • Sure must be a great consolation to the poor people who lost their stock in the late crash to know that it has fallen in the hands of Mr. Rockefeller, who will take care of it and see it has a good home and never be allowed to wander around unprotected again. There is one rule that works in every calamity. Be it pestilence, war, or famine, the rich get richer and poor get poorer. The poor even help arrange it.
    • Will Rogers, Daily Telegram #1019, Thoughts Of Will Rogers On The Late Slumps In Stocks (31 October 1929)


  • What we've been hearing from the panelists is how the global food system works right now... It's based on large multinational companies, private profits, and very low international transfers to help poor people (sometimes no transfers at all). It's based on the extreme irresponsibility of powerful countries with regard to the environment. And it's based on a radical denial of the economic rights of poor people... We've just heard from the Minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Many point a finger of blame at the DRC and other poor countries for their poverty. Yet we don't seem to remember, or want to remember, that starting around 1870, King Leopold of Belgium created a slave colony in the Congo that lasted for around 40 years; and then the government of Belgium ran the colony for another 50 years. In 1961, after independence of the DRC, the CIA then assassinated the DRC’s first popular leader, Patrice Lumumba, and installed a US-backed dictator, Mobutu Sese Seko, for roughly the next 30 years. And in recent years, Glencore and other multinational companies suck out the DRC's cobalt without paying a level of royalties and taxes. We simply don't reflect on the real history of the DRC and other poor countries struggling to escape from poverty. Instead, we point fingers at these countries and say, “What's wrong with you? Why don't you govern yourselves properly?”
  • I had a chance to look into Paradise and I found that majority of the people was poor (6597).
    • Sahih Muslim. Quoted from Ram Swarup, Understanding Islam through Hadis, 1983. [3]
  • It's simply a national acknowledgement that in any kind of priority, the needs of human beings must come first. Poverty is here and now. Hunger is here and now. Racial tension is here and now. Pollution is here and now. These are the things that scream for a response. And if we don't listen to that scream - and if we don't respond to it - we may well wind up sitting amidst our own rubble, looking for the truck that hit us - or the bomb that pulverized us. Get the license number of whatever it was that destroyed the dream. And I think we will find that the vehicle was registered in our own name.
  • It is still her use
    To let the wretched man outlive his wealth,
    To view with hollow eye and wrinkled brow
    An age of poverty.
  • Poor and content is rich and rich enough,
    But riches fineless is as poor as winter
    To him that ever fears he shall be poor.
  • The world affords no law to make thee rich;
    Then be not poor, but break it, and take this.
  • The greatest of evils and the worst of crimes is poverty.
  • How can you make poverty history without understanding the history of poverty? We need to know how the poverty of the five billion of this world came about. Even more acutely, we need to know how the filthy wealth of the 500 multinationals or the 225 richest people was created. We need to know precisely how this great divide, this unbridgeable chasm, is maintained; how it reproduced itself, and how it is increasingly deepened and widened. We need to ask ourselves: What are the political, social, moral, ideological, economic and cultural mechanisms which produce, reinforce and make such a world not only possible, but seemingly acceptable?
  • Poverty is no discrace to a man, but it is confoundedly inconvenient.
    • Reverend Samuel F. Smith (1808-1895), American Baptist minister and author. His Wit and Wisdom
    • Reverend Sydney Smith (1771 - 1845), British clergyman, essayist and wit.
  • The rich is the one that rules over those of little means, and the borrower is servant to the man doing the lending.
  • Be not among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh: For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.
    • Solomon, Proverbs 23:20-21, King James Version
  • Give beer to those who are perishing, wine to those who are in anguish; let them drink and forget their poverty and remember their misery no more.
    • Solomon, Proverbs 31:4-7, New International Version
  • Whose plenty made him pore.
    • Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene (1589-96), Book I, Canto IV, Stanza 29.
  • His rawbone cheekes, through penurie and pine,
    Were shronke into his jawes, as he did never dyne.
    • Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene (1589-96), Book I, Canto IX, Stanza 35.
  • I also believe that in many parts of this country, and certainly in many parts of this globe, that the opposite of poverty is not wealth. I don't believe that. I actually think, in too many places, the opposite of poverty is justice.
  • The rise of capitalism, rather than delivering improvements in human welfare, was associated with plummeting wages, a reduction in human stature, and a marked upturn in the incidence of famine.


  • If a poor person envies a rich person, he is no better than the rich person.
    • Leo Tolstoy, Path of Life, M. Cote, trans. (2002), p. 89.
  • The term is understood objectively rather than subjectively. Individuals, families and groups in the population can be said to be in poverty when they lack the resources to obtain the types of diet, participate in the activities and have the living conditions and amenities which are customary, or are at least widely encouraged or approved, in the societies to which they belong. Their resources are so seriously below those commanded by the average individual or family that they are, in effect, excluded from ordinary living patterns, customs and activities.
  • Counselor Deanna Troi: overty was eliminated on Earth, a long time ago. And a lot of other things disappeared with it - hopelessness, despair, cruelty...
Samuel Clemens: Young lady, I come from a time when men achieve power and wealth by standing on the backs of the poor, where prejudice and intolerance are commonplace and power is an end unto itself. And you're telling me that isn't how it is anymore?
Counselor Deanna Troi: That's right.
Samuel Clemens: Hmmm... Well... maybe... it's worth giving up cigars for, after all.
  • Indeed the results of giving people more resources were so positive that now more than 60 mayors across the country have committed to guaranteed income as a tool to abolish poverty, with about half already running pilots in their own cities. We absolutely can implement bold policies on the local, state and federal levels that will dramatically change the trajectory of people’s lives, eliminate poverty and improve the nation’s productivity. But we can only achieve that kind of change if we disrupt and replace the current narrative on poverty based on racist, classist, sexist and xenophobic stereotypes. It’s a narrative that blames people for their struggles — labeling them as lazy, corrupt, unintelligent or worse — and deems them undeserving of our trust, our investment or even their own dignity.
    This framing allows politicians to ignore and maintain blatantly unjust systems that keep people trapped in poverty — like jobs that pay unlivable wages or students at poor schools not having adequate, if any, access to resources like guidance counselors and extracurricular activities that affluent schools provide.
  • A narrative that blames people for not rising out of poverty also permits policymakers to look the other way as so many young people are denied access or priced out of continuing education, even when we know higher education is necessary (though not a silver bullet) for advancing in today’s economy. It’s a narrative that contributes to continual mass incarceration that breaks up families and strips talent and potential from Black and brown communities... How will we pay for these and other new policies? We can start by demanding — as most Americans do — that wealthy corporations and people finally pay their fair share in taxes.


  • Paupertas sanitatis mater.
    • Poverty is the mother of health.
      • Vincent of Beauvais, Speculum Historiale, Book X, Chapter LXXI. Herbert, Jacula Prudentum (1651).


  • As for the virtuous poor, one can pity them of course, but one cannot possibly admire them.
    • Oscar Wilde (1856-1900). 'The Soul of Man Under Socialism', originally published in the Fortnightly Review magazine, February 1891.
  • In the Bible, poverty is not in itself something to be applauded. It is in fact a wretched condition. Rich Christians romanticize it, misinterpreting the text "blessed are the poor in spirit," as when they claim, "I wish I were poor. Their lives are so uncomplicated, more simple. The poor don't have the worries of the rich." Poverty is not an ideal state. On the contrary, it is regarded as an evil condition in the Bible, because the poor are victims of injustice and oppression. Poverty is seen not so much as an absence of possessions, but as a condition of powerlessness. So poverty is not an ideal but an evil.
  • To listen to someone is to put oneself in his place while he is speaking. To put oneself in the place of someone whose soul is corroded by affliction, or in near danger of it, is to annihilate oneself. It is more difficult than suicide would be for a happy child. Therefore the afflicted are not listened to. They are like someone whose tongue has been cut out and who occasionally forgets the fact. When they move their lips no ear perceives any sound. And they themselves soon sink into impotence in the use of language, because of the certainty of not being heard.
  • That is why there is no hope for the vagrant as he stands before the magistrate. Even if, through his stammerings, he should utter a cry to pierce the soul, neither the magistrate nor the public will hear it. His cry is mute. And the afflicted are nearly always equally deaf to one another; and each of them, constrained by the general indifference, strives by means of self-delusion or forgetfulness to become deaf to his own self.
  • 13 million children are hungry in America. Yet most politicians do not even talk about it. Children aren’t old enough to vote, nor old enough to work therefore they have no financial leverage. They’re not old enough to advocate for themselves. That’s our job. The political establishment has simply normalized the despair of millions of American children who are chronically traumatized by poverty, hunger, and all manner of violence. This is what happens when government becomes more an instrument of corporate profits then of conscience. The vulnerabilities, challenges and chronic trauma of millions of American children should be recognized as a social justice issue. An economic system with no particular use for children - or for older people - has left both groups underserved. This country shouldn’t be run like a business, it should be run like a family. First we should take care of our children & older people, making sure they have everything they need to thrive. Everything else would then heal itself from there. Moral repair precedes societal repair.
  • Over the past 40 years, the number of people in China with incomes below $1.90 per day – the International Poverty Line as defined by the World Bank to track global extreme poverty– has fallen by close to 800 million. With this, China has contributed close to three-quarters of the global reduction in the number of people living in extreme poverty. At China’s current national poverty line, the number of poor fell by 770 million over the same period.
    To take stock of this achievement, a joint study – “Four Decades of Poverty Reduction in China: Drivers, Insights for the World, and the Way Ahead” – was undertaken by China’s Ministry of Finance, the Development Research Center (DRC) of the State Council, and the World Bank, with the China Center for International Knowledge on Development (CIKD) acting as the implementing agency. The report looks at the key drivers of China’s poverty alleviation achievements over the past 40 years, considers the insights of China’s experience for other developing countries and puts forward suggestions for China’s own future policies... The report points to a number of lessons for other countries from China’s experience, including the importance of a focus on education, an outward orientation, sustained public investments in infrastructure, and structural policies supportive of competition.
  • China’s poverty reduction story is primarily a growth story. China’s rapid and sustained economic growth has been accompanied by a broad-based economic transformation. Reforms began in the agricultural sector, where poor people could benefit directly from improvements in productivity associated with the introduction of market incentives. The development of low-skilled, labor-intensive industries provided a source of employment for workers released from agriculture. Urbanization helped migrants take advantage of the new opportunities in the cities, and migrant transfers boosted incomes of their relatives remaining in the villages. Public investment in infrastructure improved living conditions in rural areas but also connected them with urban and export markets. Reforms in all these areas were incremental, which may have helped businesses and the population adjust to the rapid pace of change. Government policies targeted specifically to poverty reduction have also played an important role in improving the lives of poor people in rural areas, particularly after the poverty headcount dropped below 10 percent of the rural population, and contributed to the eradication of extreme poverty by 2020.
    China’s success in poverty reduction was supported by effective governance. Like its East Asian peers, China has been endowed with a capable and effective government, able to credibly commit to the target of poverty reduction, facilitate interagency coordination within and across various levels of government in implementing policies, and mobilize nongovernment stakeholders to cooperate in achieving policy objectives.
  • China’s success in poverty reduction holds lessons at both the macro and micro levels... An evaluation of China’s targeted poverty alleviation experience in recent years would benefit from further analysis of individual policy interventions and their interactions to better understand not just the effectiveness but also the efficiency and sustainability of the program. An analysis of the costs and benefits of policy intervention would also be warranted in a broader sense, helping to systematically account for factors such as the impact of infrastructure investments on poverty reduction or the merits of the hukou system and China’s managed urbanization policies. In all these areas, active exchanges between researchers within and outside of China and between academics and policy makers should be encouraged, and the data needed for high-quality empirical work should be made more widely available. This will help ensure that China’s poverty reduction achievements get the attention that they deserve. p. 66-67


  • Never again should a people starve in a world of plenty.
The Bible in Wikisource.
Speak out on behalf of the voiceless, and for the rights of all who are vulnerable. Speak out in order to judge with righteousness and to defend the needy and the poor. ~ Proverbs 31:8-10
  • If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren within any of thy gates in thy land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother: But thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need, in that which he wanteth.
  • For he will rescue the poor who cry for help,
Also the lowly one and whoever has no helper.
He will have pity on the lowly and the poor,
And the lives of the poor he will save.
  • What mean ye that ye beat my people to pieces, and grind the faces of the poor? saith the Lord GOD of hosts. What do you mean by crushing my people, by grinding the face of the poor?
  • If any of your fellow Israelites become poor and are unable to support themselves among you, help them as you would a foreigner and stranger, so they can continue to live among you.
  • So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.
  • Whoever mocks the poor reviles their Maker;
    whoever rejoices in their misfortune will not go unpunished.
  • Those who shut their ears to the cry of the poor will themselves call out and not be answered.
  • Speak out on behalf of the voiceless, and for the rights of all who are vulnerable.
    Speak out in order to judge with righteousness and to defend the needy and the poor.

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 620-22.
  • Paupertas omnium artium repertrix.
    • Poverty is the discoverer of all the arts.
    • Apollonius, De Magia, p. 285. 35.
  • Leave the poor
    Some time for self-improvement. Let them not
    Be forced to grind the bones out of their arms
    For bread, but have some space to think and feel
    Like moral and immortal creatures.
  • L'or même à la laideur donne un teint de beauté:
    Mais tout devient affreux avec la pauvreté.
    • Gold gives an appearance of beauty even to ugliness: but with poverty everything becomes frightful.
    • Nicolas Boileau-Despréaux, Satires, VIII. 209.
  • Oh, the little more, and how much it is!
    And the little less, and what worlds away.
  • Needy knife-grinder! whither are ye going?
    Rough is the road, your wheel is out of order;
    Bleak blows the blast—your hat has got a hole in it.
    So have your breeches.
    • Canning, The Friend of Humanity and the Knife-Grinder.
  • Thank God for poverty
    That makes and keeps us free,
    And lets us go our unobtrusive way,
    Glad of the sun and rain,
    Upright, serene, humane,
    Contented with the fortune of a day.
  • Paupertatis onus patienter ferre memento.
    • Patiently bear the burden of poverty.
    • Dionysius Cato, Disticha, Lib. I, 21.
  • He is now fast rising from affluence to poverty.
  • The beggarly last doit.
    • William Cowper, The Task (1785), Book V. The Winter Morning Walk, line 316.
  • And plenty makes us poor.
  • Content with poverty, my soul I arm;
    And virtue, though in rags, will keep me warm.
  • Thou source of all my bliss and all my woe,
    That found'st me poor at first, and keep'st me so.
  • The nakedness of the indigent world may be clothed from the trimmings of the vain.
  • Chill penury repress'd their noble rage,
    And froze the genial current of the soul.
  • Yes, child of suffering, thou may'st well be sure
    He who ordained the Sabbath loves the poor!
  • O God! that bread should be so dear,
    And flesh and blood so cheap!
  • Stitch! stitch! stitch!
    In poverty, hunger, and dirt,
    And still with a voice of dolorous pitch,
    Would that its tone could reach the Rich,
    She sang this "Song of the Shirt!"
  • Magnas inter opes inops.
    • Penniless amid great plenty.
    • Horace, Carmina, Book III. 16. 28.
  • Pauper enim non est cui rerum suppetet usus.
    • He is not poor who has the use of necessary things.
    • Horace, Epistles, I. 12. 4.
  • Ibit eo quo vis qui zonam perdidit.
    • The man who has lost his purse will go wherever you wish.
    • Horace, Epistles, II. 2. 40.
  • Nil habet infelix paupertas durius in se
    Quam quod ridiculos homines facit.
    • Cheerless poverty has no harder trial than this, that it makes men the subject of ridicule.
    • Juvenal, Satires (early 2nd century), III. V. 152.
  • Haud facile emergunt quorum virtutibus obstat
    Res angusta domi.
    • They do not easily rise whose abilities are repressed by poverty at home.
    • Juvenal, Satires (early 2nd century), III. 164.
  • Hic vivimus ambitiosa
    Paupertate omnes.
    • Here we all live in ambitious poverty.
    • Juvenal, Satires (early 2nd century), III. 182.
  • O Poverty, thy thousand ills combined
    Sink not so deep into the generous mind,
    As the contempt and laughter of mankind.
    • Juvenal, Satires (early 2nd century), III, line 226. Gifford's translation.
  • Cantabit vacuus coram latrone viator.
    • The traveler without money will sing before the robber.
    • Juvenal, Satires (early 2nd century), X. 22.
  • Paupertas fugitur, totoque arcessitur orbe.
  • If you are poor now, Æmilianus, you will always be poor. Riches are now given to none but the rich.
    • Martial, Epigrams (c. 80-104 AD), Book V, Epigram 8.
  • Non est paupertas, Nestor, habere nihil.
    • To have nothing is not poverty.
    • Martial, Epigrams (c. 80-104 AD), XI. 32. 8.
  • La pauvreté des biens est aysee à guerir; la pauvreté de l'âme, impossible.
    • The lack of wealth is easily repaired; but the poverty of the soul is irreparable.
    • Michel de Montaigne, Essays, III. 10.
  • Rattle his bones over the stones!
    He's only a pauper whom nobody owns!
  • Horrea formicæ tendunt ad inania nunquam
    Nullus ad amissas ibit amicus opes.
    • Ants do not bend their ways to empty barns, so no friend will visit the place of departed wealth.
    • Ovid, Tristium, I. 9. 9.
  • Inops, potentem dum vult imitari, perit.
    • The poor, trying to imitate the powerful, perish.
    • Phaedrus, Fables, I. 24. 1.
  • Paupertas … omnes artes perdocet.
    • Poverty is a thorough instructress in all the arts.
    • Plautus, Stichus, Act II. 1.
  • But to the world no bugbear is so great,
    As want of figure and a small estate.
  • Where are those troops of poor, that throng'd of yore
    The good old landlord's hospitable door?
  • Whene'er I walk the public ways,
    How many poor that lack ablution
    Do probe my heart with pensive gaze,
    And beg a trivial contribution.
  • Non qui parum habet, sed qui plus cupit, pauper est.
    • Not he who has little, but he who wishes for more, is poor.
    • Seneca the Younger, Epistolæ Ad Lucilium, II.
  • Nemo tam pauper vivit quam natus est.
  • Poor people always lose in struggles.
    • Michael Servetus, a sentence from his first edition of Ptolemy's Geography (1535)
  • The poor in Resurrection City have come to Washington to show that the poor in America are sick, dirty, disorganized, and powerless—and they are criticized daily for being sick, dirty, disorganized, and powerless.
    • Calvin Trillin, "U.S. Journal: Resurrection City", The New Yorker (June 15, 1968), p. 71.
  • Whene'er I take my walks abroad,
    How many poor I see!

Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers


Quotes reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert's Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895).

  • As no one can adventure nearer the throne of God by virtue of his rank, his wealth, or his talent, so no one is kept farther from that throne by his low condition, or by his poverty of wealth, of learning, or of intellect. The prince and the sage are not more welcome to heaven than the poor and ignorant.
  • Aspirations pure and high —
    Strength to do and to endure —
    Heir of all the Ages, I —
    Lo! I am no longer poor!
  • It is not poverty so much as pretense that harasses a ruined man.
  • There is not such a mighty difference as some men imagine between the poor and the rich; in pomp, show, and opinion, there is a great deal, but little as to the pleasures and satisfactions of life. They enjoy the same earth and air and heavens; hunger and thirst make the poor man's meat and drink as pleasant and relishing as all the varieties which cover the rich man's table; and the labor of a poor man is more healthful, and many times more pleasant, too, than the ease and softness of the rich.
  • The world's proverb is, "God help the poor, for the rich can help themselves;" but to our mind, it is just the rich who have most need of Heaven's help. Dives in scarlet is worse off than Lazarus in rags, unless Divine love shall uphold him.

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