Quotations about   cost

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It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!

Upton Sinclair (1878-1968) American writer, journalist, activist, politician
I, Candidate for Governor: And How I Got Licked, ch. 20 (1935)
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A regular comment of his on the campaign trail. The wording is Sinclair's, though there are earlier references with the same sentiment (see here for more discussion).

Often misattributed to H. L. Mencken. (e.g., "Never argue with a man whose job depends on not being convinced") though not found in his work.
Added on 16-Jul-20 | Last updated 16-Jul-20
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The newspapers still talk about glory but the average man, thank God, has got rid of that illusion. It is a damned bore, with a stalemate as the most probable outcome, but one has to see it through, and see it through with the knowledge that whichever side wins, civilisation in Europe will be pipped for the next 30 years. Don’t indulge in Romance here, Malcolm, or suppose that an era of jolly little nationalities is dawning. We shall be much too much occupied with pestilence and poverty to reconstruct.

E. M. Forster (1879-1970) English novelist, essayist, critic, librettist [Edward Morgan Forster]
Letter to Malcolm Darling (6 Nov 1914)
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Added on 29-Apr-20 | Last updated 29-Apr-20
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Who kindly sets a wand’rer on his way
Does e’en as if he lit another’s lamp by his:
No less shines his, when he his friend’s hath lit.

[Homo qui erranti comiter monstrat viam,
Quasi lumen de suo lumine accendat facit;
Nihilo minus ipsi lucet, cum illi accenderit.]

Quintus Ennius (239-169 BC) Roman poet, writer
Quoted in Cicero, On Duties [De Officiis], Book 1, ch. 16 [tr. Miller]
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Every human being has paid the earth to grow up. Most people don’t grow up. It’s too damn difficult. What happens is most people get older. That’s the truth of it. They honor their credit cards, they find parking spaces, they marry, they have the nerve to have children, but they don’t grow up. Not really. They grow older. But to grow up costs the earth, the earth. It means you take responsibility for the time you take up, for the space you occupy. It’s serious business. And you find out what it costs us to love and to lose, to dare and to fail. And maybe even more, to succeed. What it costs, in truth.

Maya Angelou (1928-2014) American poet, memoirist, activist [b. Marguerite Ann Johnson]
“Maya Angelou, The Art of Fiction No. 119,” Interview with George Plimpton, The Paris Review (Fall 1990)
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Angelou used the core section (credit cards, parking spaces) a number of times in different interviews.
Added on 26-Oct-18 | Last updated 26-Oct-18
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The flip side … the flip side is that scientific research is a bottomless money pit. You can approximate Doing Science to standing on the Crack of Doom throwing banknotes down it by the double-handful, in the hope that if you choke the volcano with enough paper it will cough up the One Ring. Unless you’re doing pure mathematics or philosophy, of course, in which case it’s HB pencils and ruled A4 notepads all the way down.

Charles "Charlie" Stross (b. 1964) British writer
The Annihilation Score (2015)
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Added on 20-Jun-17 | Last updated 20-Jun-17
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“Rich people show their appreciation through favors,” I said. “When everyone you know has more money than they know what to do with, money stops being a useful transactional tool. So instead you offer favors. Deals. Quid pro quos. Things that involve personal involvement rather than money. Because when you’re that rich, your personal time is your limiting factor.”

John Scalzi (b. 1969) American writer
Lock In (2014)
Added on 14-Mar-17 | Last updated 14-Mar-17
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Posterity! You will never know, how much it cost the present Generation, to preserve your Freedom! I hope you will make a good Use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in Heaven, that I ever took half the Pains to preserve it.

John Adams (1735-1826) American lawyer, Founding Father, statesman, US President (1797-1801)
Letter to Abigail Adams (26 Apr 1777)
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Added on 31-Aug-16 | Last updated 31-Aug-16
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Money dishonestly acquired is never worth its cost, while a good conscience never costs as much as it is worth.

Jean-Antoine Petit-Senn (1792-1870) French-Swiss poet
Maxims and Ethical Sentences
Added on 26-Jul-16 | Last updated 26-Jul-16
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There are things a man must not do even to save a nation.

Kempton - even to save a nation - wist_info quote

Murray Kempton (1917-1997) American journalist.
“To Save a Nation,” America Comes of Age (1963)
Added on 18-Apr-16 | Last updated 18-Apr-16
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Freedom is worth paying for.

[La liberté vaut qu’on la paye.]

Jules Verne (1828-1905) French novelist, poet, playwright
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Part 2, ch. 8 “Vigo Bay” (1870)
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Added on 15-Apr-16 | Last updated 15-Apr-16
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Honest Men often go to Law for their Right; when Wise Men would sit down with the Wrong, supposing the first Loss least. In some Countries the Course of the Courts is so tedious, and the Expence so high, that the Remedy, Justice, is worse than, Injustice, the Disease. In my Travels I once saw a Sign call’d The Two Men at Law; One of them was painted on one Side, in a melancholy Posture, all in Rags, with this Scroll, I have lost my Cause. The other was drawn capering for Joy, on the other Side, with these Words, I have gain’d my Suit; but he was stark naked.

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) American statesman, scientist, philosopher
Poor Richard’s Almanack (1742)
Added on 13-Aug-15 | Last updated 13-Aug-15
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Delay works always for the man with the longest purse.

William Howard Taft (1857-1930) US President (1909-13) and Chief Justice (1921-1930)
“Adequate Machinery for Judicial Business,” Journal of the American Bar Association (Sep 1921)
Added on 3-Aug-15 | Last updated 3-Aug-15
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The excellence of a gift lies in its appropriateness rather than in its value.

Charles Dudley Warner (1829–1900) American essayist and novelist
Backlog Studies, ch. 11 (1872)
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Added on 18-Mar-15 | Last updated 18-Mar-15
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The question [is] asked, “Is it common for a nation to obtain a redress of wrongs by war?” The answer to this question you will of course draw from history. In the meantime, reason will answer it on grounds of probability, that where the wrong has been done by a weaker nation, the stronger one has generally been able to enforce redress; but where by a stronger nation, redress by war has been neither obtained nor expected by the weaker. On the contrary, the loss has been increased by the expenses of the war in blood and treasure. Yet it may have obtained another object equally securing itself from future wrong. It may have retaliated on the aggressor losses of blood and treasure far beyond the value to him of the wrong he had committed, and thus have made the advantage of that too dear a purchase to leave him in a disposition to renew the wrong in future. In this way the loss by the war may have secured the weaker nation from loss by future wrong.

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) American political philosopher, polymath, statesman, US President (1801-09)
Letter to Noah Worcester (1816) [ME 14:415]
Added on 17-Mar-15 | Last updated 17-Mar-15
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But to those who expect us to calculate whether a compliance with unjust demands will not cost us less than a war we must leave as a question of calculation for them also whether to retire from unjust demands will not cost them less than a war. We can do to each other very sensible injuries by war, but mutual advantages of peace make that the best interest of both.

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) American political philosopher, polymath, statesman, US President (1801-09)
State of the Union Message (8 Nov 1804) [ME 3:369]
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Added on 10-Mar-15 | Last updated 10-Mar-15
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When you go in search of honey you must expect to be stung by bees.

Joseph Joubert (1754-1824) French moralist
Pensées (1838) [ed. Auster (1983)]
Added on 25-Mar-13 | Last updated 13-May-16
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Better be cheated in the price than in the quality of goods.

[Más vale ser engañado en el precio que en la mercadería.]

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], #157 (1647) [tr. Jacobs (1892)]
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Alt. trans.: "Better to be cheated by the price than by the merchandise." [tr. Maurer (1992)]
Added on 4-Jun-12 | Last updated 31-Jan-20
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Anyone who has ever struggled with poverty knows how extremely expensive it is to be poor.

Baldwin - expensive to be poor - wist_info quote

James Baldwin (1924-1987) American novelist, playwright, activist
“Fifth Avenue, Uptown: a Letter from Harlem,” Esquire (Jul 1960)
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Added on 7-Jan-11 | Last updated 20-Dec-19
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There are some remedies worse than the disease.

Publilius Syrus (d. 42 BC) Assyrian slave, writer, philosopher [less correctly Publius Syrus]
Sententiae [Moral Sayings], # 301 [tr. Lyman (1862)]
Added on 21-Oct-10 | Last updated 20-Feb-17
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Everything is worth what its purchaser will pay for it.

Publilius Syrus (d. 42 BC) Assyrian slave, writer, philosopher [less correctly Publius Syrus]
Sententiae [Moral Sayings], # 847
Added on 15-Apr-09 | Last updated 20-Feb-17
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Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.

The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some 50 miles of concrete highway. We pay for a single fighter with a half million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people.

This, I repeat, is the best way of life to be found on the road the world has been taking. This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.

Dwight David Eisenhower (1890-1969) American general, US President (1953-61)
“The Chance for Peace,” address to American Society of Newspaper Editors, Washington (16 April 1953)

Also known as the "Cross of Iron" speech.
Added on 12-Mar-08 | Last updated 7-Jan-15
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Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigues of supporting it.

Thomas Paine (1737-1809) American political philosopher and writer
“The American Crisis” #4 (12 Sep 1777)
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Added on 26-Sep-07 | Last updated 14-Jan-20
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“Imagine that you are creating a fabric of human destiny with the object of making men happy in the end, giving them peace and rest at last, but that it was essential and inevitable to torture to death only one tiny creature — that baby beating its breast with its fist, for instance — and to found that edifice on its unavenged tears, would you consent to be the architect on those conditions? Tell me, and tell the truth.”
“No, I wouldn’t consent,” said Alyosha softly.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821-1881) Russian novelist
The Brothers Karamazov, Part 2, book 5, ch. 4 [Ivan] (1880) [tr. Garnett (1912)]
Added on 20-Aug-07 | Last updated 24-Jul-15
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Better fare hard with good men than feast it with bad.

Thomas Paine (1737-1809) American political philosopher and writer
(Attributed)
Added on 23-Jul-07 | Last updated 14-Jan-20
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There is no doubt that the “grail” of efficiency leads to abuse. Programmers waste enormous amounts of time thinking about, or worrying about, the speed of noncritical parts of their programs, and these attempts at efficiency actually have a strong negative impact when debugging and maintenance are considered. We should forget about small efficiencies, say about 97% of the time: premature optimization is the root of all evil.

Donald E. Knuth (b. 1938) American computer scientist, mathematician, academic
“Structured Programming with go to Statements,” ACM Journal Computing Surveys (Dec 1974)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 13-Oct-20
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He has honor if he holds himself to an ideal of conduct though it is inconvenient, unprofitable, or dangerous to do so.

Walter Lippmann (1889-1974) American journalist and author
A Preface to Morals, 11.3 (1929)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 25-Apr-17
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But he that dares not grasp the thorn
Should never crave the rose.

Anne Brontë (1820-1849) British novelist, poet [pseud. Acton Bell]
“The Narrow Way” (1848)
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Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Dec-15
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Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up save in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket — safe, dark, motionless, airless — it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar [Clive Staples Lewis]
The Four Loves
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 12-Dec-17
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Freedom is not free.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American clergyman, civil rights leader, orator
Speech, Institute on Nonviolence and Social Change, Bethel Baptist Church (3 Dec 1959)
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