is the even-handed dealing of the world!" he said.
"There is nothing on which it is so hard as poverty;
and there is nothing it professes to condemn with such
severity as the pursuit of
wealth!" -Charles Dickens, A
Some of the best
people that ever lived have been as destitute as I am; and if you are a
Christian, you ought not to consider poverty a
crime. -Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre
The Gospel takes away our right
forever, to discriminate between the deserving and the undeserving
poor. -Dorothy Day
history and future were threatened each day by extinction considered that
it was only by divine intervention that they were able to live at all.
I find it interesting that the meanest life, the poorest existence, is
attributed to God's will, but as human beings become more affluent, as
their living standard and style begin to ascend the material scale, God
descends the scale of responsibility at a commensurate speed.
Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
Even today we don't pay serious
attention to the issue of poverty, because the powerful remain relatively
untouched by it. Most people distance themselves from the issue by
saying that if the poor worked harder, they wouldn't be
poor. -Muhammad Yunus, Banker to the Poor
Extreme poverty is not only
a condition of unsatisfied material needs. It is often accompanied
by a degrading state of powerlessness. -Peter
Singer, The Life You Can Save
Poverty is a great enemy to
human happiness; it certainly destroys liberty, and it makes some virtues
impracticable, and others extremely difficult.
As usual, in
every scheme that worsens the position of the poor, it is the poor
who are invoked as beneficiaries.
must powder our wigs; that is why so many poor people have no
bread. -Jean-Jacques Rousseau
humorist Kin Hubbard said , "It ain't no disgrace to be poor,
but it might as well be." The meanest eating or
drinking establishment, owned by a man who is himself poor, is
very likely to have a sign on its wall asking this cruel question:
"If you're so smart, why ain't you rich?"
Americans, like human beings everywhere, believe many
things that are obviously untrue. . . Their most destructive
untruth is that it is very easy for any American to make money.
They will not acknowledge how in fact hard money is to come by,
and, therefore, those who have no money blame and blame and blame
themselves. This inward blame has been a treasure for the
rich and powerful, who have had to do less for their poor,
publicly and privately, than any other ruling class since, say,
Many novelties have come from America. The most
startling of these, a thing without precedent is a mass of
undignified poor. They do not love one another because they
do not love themselves. -Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five
It is a common
condition of being poor. . . you are always afraid that the good
things in your life are temporary, that someone can take them
away, because you have no power beyond your own brute strength to
stop them. -Rick Bragg
was possible, no doubt, to imagine a society in which wealth, in
the sense of personal possessions and luxuries, should be evenly
distributed, while power remained in the hands of a small
privileged caste. But in practice such a society could not
long remain stable. For if leisure and security were enjoyed
by all alike, the great mass of human beings who are normally
stupefied by poverty would become literate and would learn to
think for themselves; and when once they had done this, they would
sooner or later realise that the privileged minority had no
function, and they would sweep it away. In the long run, a
hierarchical society was only possible on a basis of poverty and
ignorance. -George Orwell, 1984
If you go out into
the real world, you cannot miss seeing that the poor are poor not
because they are untrained or illiterate but because they cannot
retain the returns of their labor. They have no control over
capital, and it is the ability to control capital that gives
people the power to rise out of poverty.
-Muhammad Yunus, Banker to the Poor
I am opposing
a social order in which it is possible for one person who does
absolutely nothing that is useful to amass a fortune of hundreds
of millions of dollars, while millions of men and women who work
all the days of their lives secure barely enough for a wretched
existence. -Eugene V. Debs
all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity,
nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the
poor by the well-housed, well- warmed, and
well-fed. -Herman Melville
Being unwanted, unloved,
uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much
greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has
nothing to eat. -Mother
When I give
food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the
poor have no food, they call me a
communist. -Hélder Câmara, Essential
is gone, we'll need to build museums to display its horrors to
future generations. They'll wonder why poverty continued so
long in human society--how a few people could live in luxury while
billions dwelt in misery, deprivation and
despair. -Muhammad Yunus, Creating a
World Without Poverty
There are people in the world
so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of
You might be
poor, your shoes might be broken, but your mind is a
palace. -Frank McCourt, Angela's Ashes
If the misery of the poor be
caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great
is our sin. -Charles Darwin, Voyage of
you are preoccupied with people who are talking about the poor,
you scarcely have time to talk to the poor. Some people talk
about hunger, but they don't come and say, "Mother,
here is five rupees. Buy food for these people."
But they can give a most beautiful lecture on hunger.
I had the most extraordinary experience once in
Bombay. There was a big conference about hunger. I was
supposed to go to that meeting and I lost the way. Suddenly
I came to that place, and right in front of the door to where
hundreds of people were talking about food and hunger, I found a
dying man. I took him out and I took him home.
He died there.
He died of hunger.
And the people inside were talking about how in 15
years we will have so much food, so much this, so much that, and
that man died.
See the difference? -Mother
Teresa, Words to Live By
I am for doing
good to the poor, but I differ in opinion about the means. I
think the best way of doing good to the poor is not making them
easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it.
Poverty is not the absence of
goods, but rather the overabundance of desire.
test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance
of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those
who have too little. -Franklin D.
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