Distribution of Wealth according to the Sages

“An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics.” –Plutarch, ancient Greek biographer [c. 46 – 120 CE].

“The disposition to admire, and almost to worship, the rich and the powerful, and to despise, or, at least, to neglect persons of poor and mean condition is the great and most universal cause of the corruption of our moral sentiments.” – Adam Smith, Scottish political economist, author, The Wealth of Nations, father of capitalism [1723-1790].

“The poor have sometimes objected to being governed badly. The rich have always objected to being governed at all.” –G. K. Chesterton, English essayist (1874-1936)

“So distribution should undo excess, and each man have enough.” William Shakespeare, King Lear, Act 4, Scene 1.

“In the long run men inevitably become the victims of their wealth. They adapt their lives and habits to their money, not their money to their lives. It preoccupies their thoughts, creates artificial needs, and draws a curtain between them and the world.” – Herbert Croly, U.S. political philosopher [1869-1930].

“No person, I think, ever saw a herd of buffalo, of which a few were fat and the great majority lean. No person ever saw a flock of birds, of which two or three were swimming in grease, and the others all skin and bone.”–Henry George American political economist [1839-1897].

“The greatest country, the richest country, is not that which has the most capitalists, monopolists, immense grabbings, vast fortunes, with its sad, sad soil of extreme, degrading, damning poverty, but the land in which there are the most homesteads, freeholds — where wealth does not show such contrasts high and low, where all men have enough — a modest living— and no man is made possessor beyond the sane and beautiful necessities.” –Walt Whitman [1819-1892].

“We can either have democracy in this country or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.” –Louis Brandeis, U.S. Supreme Court Justice [1856-1941]

“The form of law which I propose would be as follows: In a state which is desirous of being saved from the greatest of all plagues—not faction, but rather distraction—there should exist among the citizens neither extreme poverty nor, again, excessive wealth, for both are productive of great evil . . . Now the legislator should determine what is to be the limit of poverty or of wealth.”–Plato, Greek philosopher [427-347 B.C.E.]

“He has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty.” – Mary, mother of Jesus of Nazareth, Christian Scripture, Gospel of Luke 1:52-53.

  • Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, Dec. 29, 2015.


10 thoughts on “Distribution of Wealth according to the Sages

  1. I started a long response but I waited too long between thoughts and my iPad lost it. The basic thought was that laissez faire (or free market) capitalism invariably results in a chasm between enormously wealthy people and everybody else. Deep, profound, not??

    Liked by 1 person

    • JoAnne, Absolutely a Bernie guy. He’s been on my radar for a very long time. He’s stood firm for the same vision and policies since he was a student. He’s never wavered. My sense of the Trump thing is that he’s drawing people who are disillusioned with establishment politicians. Curious as it may seem, my brother had a conversation with people at the mall in PA the other day who liked Trump and Cruz, but, when Bob said he was a Bernie guy, they said they also like Bernie!!! Why? Because he speaks his mind, he’s not been bought by big money, and they know he’s for “the little” people. If Bernie can get out from behind the DNC’s support for Hillary as its candidate and get debates on prime time, he may catch fire. I hope!

      Liked by 1 person

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