Trust men, and they will be true to you; treat them greatly, and they will show themselves great.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essays, On Prudence
Money is like muck, not good except it be spread.
Francis Bacon, 'Of seditions and Troubles', Essays, 15.
Riches are a good handmaid, but the worst mistress.
Wealth is a good servant, a very bad mistress.
Francis Bacon, De Dignitate et Augmentis Scientiarum (1623), Book Six
Money often costs too much.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Conduct of Life (1860), Chapter III, "Wealth".
If there's no money in poetry, neither is there poetry in money.
Robert Graves (18951985), English novelist and poet. 'Mammon', Mammon and the Black Goddess (1965)
It is probably true that business corrupts everything it touches. It corrupts politics, sports, literature, art, labor unions and so on. But business also corrupts and undermines monolithic totalitarianism. Capitalism is at its liberating best in a noncapitalist environment.
Eric Hoffer, "Thoughts of Eric Hoffer, Including: 'Absolute Faith Corrupts Absolutely'", The New York Times Magazine
Corporations care very much about maintaining the myth that government is necessarily ineffective, except when it is spending money on the military-industrial complex, building prisons, or providing infrastructural support for the business sector.
Michael Lerner in The Politics of Meaning
Labor is prior to and independent of capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration. Capital has its rights, which are as worthy of protection as any other rights. Nor is it denied that there is, and probably always will be, a relation between labor and capital producing mutual benefits.
Abraham Lincoln, First State of the Union Address (3 December 1861)
It is true that the materialistic society, the so-called culture that has evolved under the tender mercies of capitalism, has produced what seems to be the ultimate limit of this worldliness. And nowhere, except perhaps in the analogous society of pagan Rome, has there ever been such a flowering of cheap and petty and disgusting lusts and vanities as in the world of capitalism, where there is no evil that is not fostered and encouraged for the sake of making money. We live in a society whose whole policy is to excite every nerve in the human body and keep it at the highest pitch of artificial tension, to strain every human desire to the limit and to create as many new desires and synthetic passions as possible, in order to cater to them with the products of our factories and printing presses and movie studios and all the rest.
Thomas Merton, in The Seven Storey Mountain (1948)
It cannot be said too often at any rate, it is not being said nearly often enough that collectivism is not inherently democratic, but, on the contrary, gives to a tyrannical minority such powers as the Spanish Inquisitors never dreamed of. Professor Hayek is also probably right in saying that in this country the intellectuals are more totalitarian-minded than the common people. But he does not see, or will not admit, that a return to 'free' competition means for the great mass of people a tyranny probably worse, because more irresponsible, than that of the State.
George Orwell in a review of The Road to Serfdom (1944) by Friedrich Hayek
If we command our wealth, we shall be rich and free; if our wealth commands us, we are poor indeed.
Edmund Burke, Letters on a Regicide Peace
Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority: still more when you superadd the tendency or the certainty of corruption by authority.
Lord Acton,in a letter to Mandell Creighton (5 April 1887), published in Historical Essays and Studies (1907)
One needs to be nominalistic, no doubt: power is not an institution, and not a structure; neither is it a certain strength we are endowed with; it is the name that one attributes to a complex strategical situation in a particular society.
Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality, p.93.
The impulse of power is to turn every variable into a constant, and give to commands the inexorableness and relentlessness of laws of nature. Hence absolute power corrupts even when exercised for humane purposes. The benevolent despot who sees himself as a shepherd of the people still demands from others the submissiveness of sheep. The taint inherent in absolute power is not its inhumanity but its anti-humanity.
Eric Hoffer, in "The Ordeal of Change" (1963), Ch. 15 : The Unnaturalness Of Human Nature