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Words to Live By

For nearly a decade now, I've been obsessed with quotes. As a high school freshman, I started filling a notebook with my favorite sayings because I knew I'd want really good ones to accompany my senior yearbook photo. ("It is our choices, Harry, far more than our abilities, that show us who we truly are," from Albus Dumbledore, was one of my first entries.) Today, my bedroom door is plastered with bumper stickers that have great political quotes. (Even if I did have a car, I doubt I'd expose these treasures to the elements.) When I began working at Bread, one of my first cubicle decorations was a large poster with my favorite version of Amos:5 - "Let justice flow like water and integrity like an unfailing stream."

I realized yesterday that poverty has been around since the beginning of civilization, and that many people have had some interesting takes on the subject. The sample of quotations that follows is just to get you thinking, not to endorse any one particular author or philosophy. Feel free to comment or to add your own!

"It is not easy for men to rise whose qualities are thwarted by poverty" -Juvenal (Roman poet, 55AD - 127 AD)

If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.  ~Charles Darwin (English naturalist, 1809-1882)

It would be nice if the poor were to get even half of the money that is spent in studying them.  ~Bill Vaughan (American columnist and author, 1946-1977)

Love and business and family and religion and art and patriotism are nothing but shadows of words when a man's starving.  ~O. Henry (American writer, 1862-1910)

Poverty is the mother of crime.  ~Marcus Aurelius (Roman Emperor, 121-180 AD)

"For every talent that poverty has stimulated it has blighted a hundred."
John W. Garner (American writer, 1933–1982)

In a country well governed poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed wealth is something to be ashamed of.
-Confucius (BC 551-BC 479) Chinese philosopher.

"Loneliness is the most terrible poverty."
Mother Teresa Roman Catholic missionary in India (1910-1997)

 

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Comments

I love quotes and these are some good ones. I like one from the Brazilian president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, “If by the end of my term of office, every Brazilian is able to have three meals a day, I will have accomplished my mission in life.”

My other favorite is not directly about poverty, but injustice, "If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has his foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality."
- Archbishop Desmond Tutu

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