Bankruptcies of governments have, on the whole, done less harm to mankind than their ability to raise loans.
A society which reverences the attainment of riches as the supreme felicity will naturally be disposed to regard the poor as damned … if only to justify itself for making their life a hell.
Clever men are impressed in their differences from their fellows. Wise men are conscious of their resemblance to them.
Freedom for the pike is death for the minnow.
A reasonable estimate of economic organisation must allow for the fact that, unless industry is to be paralysed by recurrent revolts on the part of outraged human nature, it must satisfy criteria which are not purely economic.
Private property is a necessary institution, at least in a fallen world; men work more and dispute less when goods are private than when they are in common.
It is probable that democracy owes more to nonconformity than to any other single movement.
It is not till it is discovered that high individual incomes will not purchase the mass of mankind immunity from cholera, typhus, and ignorance, still less secure them the positive advantages of educational opportunity and economic security, that slowly and reluctantly, amid prophecies of moral degeneration and economic disaster, society begins to make collective provision for needs which no ordinary individual, even if he works overtime all his life, can provide himself.
When men have gone so far as to talk as though their idols have come to life, it is time that someone broke them.
The certainties of one age are the problems of the next.
As long as men are men, a poor society cannot be too poor to find a right order of life, nor a rich society too rich to have need to seek it.
Convinced that character is all and circumstances nothing, [the Puritan] sees in the poverty of those who fall by the way, not a misfortune to be pitied and relieved, but a moral failing to be condemned, and in riches, not an object of suspicion … but the blessing which rewards the triumph of energy and will.
The characteristic virtue of Englishmen is power of sustained practical activity and their characteristic vice a reluctance to test the quality of that activity by reference to principles.
The real economic cleavage is not… between employers and employed, but between all who do constructive work, from scientist to laborer, on the one hand, and all whose main interest is the preservation of existing proprietary rights upon the other, irrespective of whether they contribute to constructive work or not.
Virtues are often conquered by vices, but their rout is most complete when it is inflicted by other virtues, more militant, more efficient, or more congenial.
One of the main truths of all education is that if the young are not always right, the old are always wrong.
By a kind of happy pre-established harmony, such as a later age discovered between the needs of society and the self-interest of the individual, success in business is in itself almost a sign of spiritual grace, for it is a proof that a man has laboured faithfully in his vocation.
…and was disposed too often to idealize as a virtue that habit of mean subservience to wealth and social position which, after more than half a century of political democracy, is still the characteristic and odious vice of the Englishman.
If a man has important work, and enough leisure and income to enable him to do it properly, he is in possession of as much happiness as is good for any of the children of Adam.
An erring colleague is not an Amalkite to be smitten hip and thigh.
Too often, contemning the external order as unspiritual, [the Puritan] has made it, and ultimately himself, less spiritual by reason of his contempt.