‘The mind becomes narrower, men grow hot after gain, work too much, acquire too many needs….Everybody becomes plebeian, proletarian or shop-keeperish, sharp, hard, anxious and unhappy. To make money – such, nowadays is the daily concern, the all-absorbing idea– and in this country more than any other. Poverty, he writes, is generally degrading. ‘It is to some extent to avoid falling into such degradation that the English strive so fiercely after riches. They prize wealth so highly because it is, in their eyes, the accompaniment to, sustenance for and condition of morality, education and all the attributes which make a gentleman. It is under this unremitting lash that every man goes forward, drawing his load after him. And use turns into a need: even when he has reached his goal, he still goes on pulling and, in default of a load of his own, harnesses himself to that of his parish, his association, or the State.
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