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The least vile of all merchants is he who says: “Let us be virtuous, since, thus, we shall gain much more money than the fools who are dishonest.” For the merchant, even honesty is a financial speculation.

[Le moins infâme de tous les commerçants, c’est celui qui dit: Soyons vertueux pour gagner beaucoup plus d’argent que les sots qui sont vicieux. — Pour le commerçant, l’honnêteté elle-même est une spéculation de lucre.]

Charles Baudelaire
Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867) French poet, essayist, art critic
Journaux Intimes [Intimate Journals], “Mon cœur mis à nu [My Heart Laid Bare],” § 47 (1864–1867; pub. 1887) [tr. Isherwood (1930)]

(Source (French)). Alternate translation:

The least despicable of merchants is the one who says: Let us be virtuous so that we can make far more money than those vice-ridden fools. -- For the merchant, even honesty offers a money-making opportunity.
[tr. Sieburth (2022)]

Added on 6-Nov-23 | Last updated 6-Nov-23
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Civilization, let me tell you what it is. First the soldier, then the merchant, then the priest, then the lawyer. The merchant hires the soldier and priest to conquer the country for him. First the soldier, he is a murderer; then the priest, he is a liar; then the merchant, he is a thief; and they all bring in the lawyer to make their laws and defend their deeds, and there you have your civilization!

Katherine Anne Porter (1890-1980) American journalist, essayist, author, political activist [b. Callie Russell Porter]
Ship of Fools, Part 2 [Hansen] (1962)
Added on 28-Sep-22 | Last updated 28-Sep-22
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