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Barbara Ward

  • ... in modern society, fear of unemployment remains the darkest of the shadows thrown by the past. In an industrial order, a man out of work is almost a man out of life.

  • Faith will not be restored in the West because people believe it to be useful. It will return only when they find that it is true.

  • The raw material from which social institutions are fashioned is always more or less recalcitrant and any human society will tend to produce a caricature of itself.

  • Today, the vast material superiority of the United States is not felt, in the rest of the world, as a moral as well as a physical challenge. The West will reassert its powers of attraction only if its material achievements are seen to express a vision of spiritual order.

  • ... the wealthy white western minority of the world could not hope to prosper if most of the rest of mankind were foundering in hopeless poverty. Islands of plenty in a vast ocean of misery never have been a good recipe for commercial success.

    • Barbara Ward,
    • "The Economic Revolution," in Richard Thruelsen and John Kobler, eds., Adventures of the Mind, 2nd series ()
  • ... the western world today ... is supremely wealthy and, on the whole, supremely confident. A deep instinct is to let the rest of the world go hang ...

    • Barbara Ward,
    • "The Economic Revolution," in Richard Thruelsen and John Kobler, eds., Adventures of the Mind, 2nd series ()
  • Casually, unconsciously, but with deadly effectiveness, western man all round the globe destroyed the traditional gods and the ancient societies with his commerce and his science. ... Does it mean nothing to him if great areas of the world, where western influence has been predominant, emerge from this tutelage unable to return to the old life, yet unfitted for the new? It is hard to believe that the future could ever belong to men demonstrating irresponsibility on so vast a scale.

    • Barbara Ward,
    • "The Economic Revolution," in Richard Thruelsen and John Kobler, eds., Adventures of the Mind, 2nd series ()
  • ... it is a fact of history that those who seek to withdraw from its [society's] great experiments usually end by being overwhelmed by them.

    • Barbara Ward,
    • "The Economic Revolution," in Richard Thruelsen and John Kobler, eds., Adventures of the Mind, 2nd series ()
  • The modern world is not given to uncritical admiration. It expects its idols to have feet of clay, and can be reasonably sure that press and camera will report their exact dimensions.

    • Barbara Ward,
    • "First Lady, First Person," in The Saturday Review ()
  • If a man has lived in a tradition which tells him that nothing can be done about his human condition, to believe that progress is possible may well be the greatest revolution of all.

  • ... the distinction between rich nations and poor nations is one of the great dominant political and international themes of our century.

  • It is very much easier for a rich man to invest and grow richer than for the poor man to begin investing at all. And this is also true of nations.

  • ... if we continue with what is surely our greatest Western temptation, and think that in some way history owes us a solution, that we can, by pursuing our own most parochial self-interest, achieve in some miraculous way a consummation of world order, then we are heading not simply towards great disappointments, but towards disaster and tragedy as well.

  • Fear can indeed be the beginning of wisdom.

  • ... I have the impression that when we talk so confidently of liberty, we are unaware of the awful ... servitude of poverty when means are so small that there is literally no choice at all ...

  • Our physical unity has gone far ahead of our moral unity.

  • The gaps in power, the gaps in wealth, the gaps in ideology which hold the nations apart also make up the abyss into which mankind can fall to annihilation.

  • ... man's oldest and least reputable occupation — war.

  • In the home we make certain distinctions about functions of rooms and corridors; we do not deliver the groceries straight into the baby's crib. In hospitals we do not take the food trolleys right through the operating chamber, and we rarely have the recreation room next to the convalescent room. We sort out the functions. We have to sort out the functions of the city and the streams of traffic and re-create arterial systems that allow us to breathe ... the shape, pattern and sense of community which you expect if it were a home.

    • Barbara Ward,
    • in Eda LeShan, The Conspiracy Against Childhood ()
  • It is a truism that one person who wants something is a hundred times stronger than a hundred who want to be left alone.

    • Barbara Ward,
    • "The First International Nation" (1968), in William Kilbourn, ed., Canada: A Guide to the Peaceable Kingdom ()
  • To act without rapacity, to use knowledge with wisdom, to respect interdependence, to operate without hubris and greed are not simply moral imperatives. They are an accurate scientific description of the means of survival.

    • Barbara Ward,
    • speech (1972), in Nigel Cross, Evidence for Hope ()
  • We have forgotten how to be good guests, how to walk lightly on the earth as its other creatures do.

Barbara Ward, English economist, journalist, educator

(1914 - 1981)

Full name: Dame Barbara Mary Ward,  Baroness Jackson of Lodworth.