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Wealth

  • Riches ... don't consist in having things, but in not having to do something you don't want to do. ... Riches is being able to thumb your nose.

  • There are a handful of people whom money won't spoil, and we all count ourselves among them.

  • ... the very rich and the very social are, often, the very stuffy.

  • No one in the United States has the right to own millions of acres of American land, I don't care how they came by it.

  • Money ... buys privacy, silence. The less money you have, the noisier it is; the thinner your walls, the closer your neighbors ... The first thing you notice when you step into the house of apartment of a rich person is how quiet it is.

  • The greatest evidence of demoralization is the respect paid to wealth.

    • George Sand,
    • in J. De Finod, ed., A Thousand Flashes of French Wit, Wisdom, and Wickedness ()
  • The money that fueled the explosion of gluttony at the top had to come from somewhere or, more specifically, from someone. Since no domestic oil deposits had been discovered, no new seams of uranium or gold, and since the war in Iraq enriched only the military contractors and suppliers, it had to come from other Americans.

  • ... the greatest capitalist innovations of this past decade have been in the realm of squeezing money out of those who have little to spare: taking away workers' pensions and benefits to swell profits, offering easy credit on dubious terms, raising insurance premiums and refusing to insure those who might ever make a claim, downsizing workforces to boost share prices, even falsifying time records to avoid paying overtime.

  • ... a great deal of the wealth at the top is built on the low-wage labor of the poor. Take Wal-Mart, our largest private employer and premiere exploiter of the working class. ... You think it's a coincidence that this union-busting low-wage retail empire happens to have generated a $65 billion family fortune?

  • ... our contempt of wealth does not extend beyond the hour when we can get it in possession.

  • The wealthy had a passion for bargains as lively as it was pointless.

  • Verily, affluence brings anxiety!

  • If you are rich, you have lovely cars, and jars full of flowers, and books in rows, and a wireless, and the best sort of gramophone and meringues for supper.

    • Winifred Holtby,
    • 1923, in Alice Holtby and Jean McWilliam, eds., Letters to a Friend ()
  • Being very rich as far as I am concerned is having a margin. The margin is being able to give.

  • ... they always had enough money to pay for the things they considered important, which Emma had come to believe was a pretty good definition of wealth.

  • Until we end the masculinization of wealth, we will not end the feminization of poverty.

  • Prosperity is like perfume, it often makes the head ache.

    • Margaret Cavendish,
    • "Aphorisms," The Cavalier and His Lady: Selected From the Works of the First Duke and Duchess of Newcastle ()
  • ... as the world is, and will be, 'tis a sort of duty to be rich, that it may be in in one's power to do good ...

  • Be honest and poor, by all means — but I shall not envy you; I do not much think I shall even respect you. I have a much greater respect for those that are honest and rich.

  • A single woman with a narrow income must be a ridiculous, disagreeable old maid, the proper sport of boys and girls, but a single woman of fortune is always respectable, and may be as sensible and pleasant as anybody else.

  • Wealth is the product of man's capacity to think.

  • Wherever the appearance of a conventional aristocracy exists in America, it must arise from wealth, as it cannot from birth. An aristocracy of mere wealth is vulgar everywhere. In a republic, it is vulgar in the extreme.

  • Nobody ever feels rich.

  • There is no denying that there are 'royal roads' through existence for the upper classes; for them, at least, the highways are macadamized, swept, and watered.

  • How often the rich like to play at being poor. A rather nasty game, I've always thought.

  • [France] may be the only country in the world where the rich are sometimes brilliant.

  • The rich are different from you and me — they are a lot more fun to read about.

  • ... though the worship of riches is an old religion, there has never before been a danger that it might become the sole religion. And yet that is what is surely going to happen to the world ...

  • He was the worst kind of rich American, the kind who pretended to be poor.

  • He knew now that the only way to interest the rich was to suggest more riches.

  • If the poor ever feel poor as the rich do, we will have a most bloody revolution.

  • I do want to get rich but I never want to do what there is to do to get rich.

  • ... light hearts seldom keep company with heavy coffers ...

  • ... wealth means power: the power to subdue, to crush, to exploit, the power to enslave, to outrage, to degrade.

  • When you say fiscal responsibility, it seems to me that you really mean rich people keeping their money.

  • Lord, I do not ask that Thou shouldst give me wealth; only show me where it is, and I will attend to the rest.

  • Eugenio knew a number of old ladies whose circumstances reminded him of all he had lost, and in whose houses his cold sycophancy, his careful foreigner's diction, his elaborate courtliness screened the cupidity, the longing, with which he noted every teacup, every bibelot, every scrap of evidence of the blissful oblivion which money only can bring.

  • We have a new class in this country: the deserving rich. ... The deserving rich do nice things for each other. Comforting the unafflicted is something that comes naturally to them.

  • To despise riches, may, indeed, be philosophic, but to dispense them worthily, must surely be more beneficial to mankind.

  • 'You are rich,' he cried; 'are you therefore worthless?'

  • Wealth per se I never too much valued, and my acquaintance with its possessors has by no means increased my veneration for it.

    • Fanny Burney,
    • 1782, in Charlotte Barrett, ed., Diary and Letters of Madame D'Arblay, vol. 1 ()
  • If you live in Beverly Hills they don't put blinkers in your car. They figure if you're that rich you don't have to tell people where you're going.

  • You, that have toiled during youth, to set your son upon higher ground, and to enable him to begin where you left off, do not expect that son to be what you were, — diligent, modest, active, simple in his tastes, fertile in resources. You have put him under quite a different master. Poverty educated you; wealth will educate him. You cannot suppose the result will be the same.

  • Rich folks always talks hard times.

  • There is a gigantic difference between earning a great deal of money and being rich.

  • Not only subjective poverty is never overcome by growth, but absolute poverty is increased by it. ... Absolute misery grows while wealth increases.

    • Joan Robinson,
    • title essay, in Rendigs Fels, ed., The Second Crisis of Economic Theory ()
  • ... the function of wealth is not to accumulate it but to give it away as productively and responsibly as you can.

  • ... there was nothing in the whole world so dreadful as the power of riches wrongly used.

  • And when I pray my prayer of thankfulness, it shall be that I had only poverty to overcome. I have seen him who must overcome wealth.

  • People who are so arrogant on account of their wealth are about equal in civilization to Laplanders, who measure a man's worth by the number of his reindeer. A man with a thousand reindeer is a very great man. The aristocracy of wealth is the lowest and commonest possible. It is a pity that one meets it in America more than one ought to. One can even, in walking through the streets, hear the expression, 'He is worth so and so many dollars!'

    • Fredrika Bremer,
    • 1850, America of the Fifties: Letters of Fredrika Bremer ()
  • ... the possession of wealth, and especially the inheritance of wealth, seems almost invariably to sterilize genius.

  • In truth, it requires not only a large intellect, but a large heart, to judge with becoming charity of the peculiar temptations of riches.

  • One of the many nice things about being rich is that when you want to break the law, you pay someone to do it for you.

  • It would seem that the fortunes of the rich belong to everybody, since everybody has an idea about how they should be used.

  • No one has yet had the courage to memorialize his wealth on his tombstone. A dollar mark would not look well there.

  • It is easier to give all your goods to feed the poor, or not to have any goods — only your virtues, to boast of — than it is to judge the rich with charity ...

  • Wealth consists not in having great possessions but in having few wants.

  • We don't pay taxes; the little people pay taxes.

  • ... our intuitive beliefs about how capitalism works haven't caught up with the reality. In fact, surging income inequality is such a strong violation of our expectations that most of us don't realize it is happening.

  • 'One can never be too rich or too thin' is an aphorism attributed to the Duchess of Windsor. Being both rich and thin is a difficult enterprise, indeed almost unprecedented as an ideal. Into the paradoxical gap between the capacity to spend money and the need to eat less steps a brilliant solution: 'light' food. In buying 'light' food we can pay more for what costs less to produce in the first place ...

  • The richer your friends, the more they will cost you.

  • Being rich has never stopped anyone from being greedy.

  • The rich will always be with us. Especially on our movie screens.

  • I have two enemies in all the world, / Two twins, inseparably pooled: / The hunger of the hungry and the fullness of the full.

    • Marina Tsvetaeva,
    • "If the Soul Was Born With Pinions" (1918), Swans' Encampment ()
  • There are people who have money and people who are rich.

    • Coco Chanel,
    • in Karen Karbo, The Gospel According to Coco ()
  • Let's face it: one way in which the rich are different is that they have access to the country's top financial minds.

  • Now that he was rich he was not thought ignorant any more, but simply eccentric.

  • Justice waits upon the great, Interest holds the scale, and Riches turns the balance.

  • There are many excuses for the persons who made the mistake of confounding money and wealth. Like many others they mistook the sign for the thing signified.

  • [To Ernest Hemingway:] The only difference between the rich and other people is that the rich have more money.

    • Mary Colum,
    • whose words were popularized without attribution in Hemingway's The Snows of Kilimanjaro, in Matthew J. Bruccoli, Some Sort of Epic Grandeur ()
  • ... the media confuse wealth with virtue and wisdom.

  • Ronald Reagan can't resist an appeal from defense contractors down on their luck. They ask him to spare a dime for a cup of coffee, and he gives them seven thousand dollars for a coffee maker. There wasn't a dry eye in the White House when the forgotten wealthy asked for a handout.

  • The true defense against wealth is not a fear of wealth — of its fragility and of the vicious consequences that it can bring — the true defense against wealth is an indifference to money.

  • Riches may not bring happiness, but neither does poverty.

  • I have the greatest of all riches: that of not desiring them.

  • Necessity need not be the mother of invention, but today invention becomes the mother of necessity. Our affluent society is preoccupied with the production and compulsive consumption of material goods we have been taught to want.

  • The old thought that one cannot be rich except at the expense of his neighbor, must pass away. True prosperity adds to the richness of the whole world, such as that of the man who makes two trees grow where only one grew before. The parasitical belief in prosperity as coming by the sacrifices of others has no place in the mind that thinks true. 'My benefit is your benefit, your success is my success,' should be the basis of all our wealth.

  • Great wealth is its own nationality.

  • Why snatch at wealth, and hoard and stock it? / Your shroud, you know, will have no pocket!

  • What a ready passport wealth gives its possessor to the good opinions of this world!

  • Riches are always over estimated; the enjoyment they give is more in the pursuit than the possession.

  • Were all the pleasures in the world, even pure air, made solely for the rich? I think it is immoral — it is horrible! — that one man may own twenty millions of money, and another has to commit a crime to keep the life in his miserable body. And if I were wealthy, I'd be a spendthrift! It's the spendthrifts who are the real friends of the poor. Some of their money filters through to the very lowest classes ...

  • ... the rich are different only because people treat them as if they were.

  • ... the wealthy ... live in marble mausoleums surrounded by the suspicions and neuroses that have replaced the medieval moats which once isolated so-called aristocrats from reality.

  • We could see into the perfectly maintained grounds and buildings. I could almost smell the money, or at least the absence of other smells, which is perhaps what money really smells like.