„The extreme emphasis upon the accumulation of wealth as a symbol of success in our society militates against the completely effective control of institutionally regulated modes of acquiring a fortune.“

—  Robert Merton, p. 59
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Robert Merton
1910 - 2003
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„Great accumulations of wealth cannot be justified on the basis of personal and family security. In the last analysis such accumulations amount to the perpetuation of great and undesirable concentration of control in a relatively few individuals over the employment and welfare of many, many others.“

—  Franklin D. Roosevelt 32nd President of the United States 1882 - 1945
Context: The desire to provide security for oneself and one's family is natural and wholesome, but it is adequately served by a reasonable inheritance. Great accumulations of wealth cannot be justified on the basis of personal and family security. In the last analysis such accumulations amount to the perpetuation of great and undesirable concentration of control in a relatively few individuals over the employment and welfare of many, many others.

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„Fortunate is he who has acquired a wealth of divine understanding, but wretched the one whose interest lies in shadowy conjectures about divinities.“

—  Empedocles ancient Greek philosopher -490 - -430 a.C.
fr. 132 Variant translations: Blessed is he who has acquired a wealth of divine wisdom, but miserable is he in whom there rests a dim opinion concerning the gods. tr. Arthur Fairbanks

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„Wherefore of all modes of getting wealth this is the most unnatural.“

—  Aristotle Classical Greek philosopher, student of Plato and founder of Western philosophy -384 - -322 a.C.
Context: Money was intended to be used in exchange, but not to increase at interest. And this term interest, which means the birth of money from money, is applied to the breeding of money because the offspring resembles the parent. Wherefore of all modes of getting wealth this is the most unnatural. Book I, 1258b.4

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„Excellent poetry, but not a good working philosophy. Goldsmith would have been right, if, in fact, the accumulation of wealth meant the decay of men. It is rare indeed that the men who are accumulating wealth decay. It is only when they cease production, when accumulation stops, that an irreparable decay begins. Wealth is the product of industry, ambition, character and untiring effort. In all experience, the accumulation of wealth means the multiplication of schools, the increase of knowledge, the dissemination of intelligence, the encouragement of science, the broadening of outlook, the expansion of liberties, the widening of culture. Of course, the accumulation of wealth cannot be justified as the chief end of existence. But we are compelled to recognize it as a means to well-nigh every desirable achievement. So long as wealth is made the means and not the end, we need not greatly fear it. And there never was a time when wealth was so generally regarded as a means, or so little regarded as an end, as today. Just a little time ago we read in your newspapers that two leaders of American business, whose efforts at accumulation had been most astonishingly successful, had given fifty or sixty million dollars as endowments to educational works. That was real news. It was characteristic of our American experience with men of large resources. They use their power to serve, not themselves and their own families, but the public. I feel sure that the coming generations, which will benefit by those endowments, will not be easily convinced that they have suffered greatly because of these particular accumulations of wealth.“

—  Calvin Coolidge American politician, 30th president of the United States (in office from 1923 to 1929) 1872 - 1933

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„Wealth can only be accumulated by the earnings of industry and the savings of frugality.“

—  John Tyler American politician, 10th President of the United States (in office from 1841 to 1845) 1790 - 1862
First annual message to Congress (1 June 1841).