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1. Management’s total loyalty to the maximization of profit is the principal obstacle to achieving higher standards of ethical practice.

Kenneth R. Andrews (b.1916) U.S. business author. Harvard Business Review (September/October 1989)


2. Conscience gets a lot of credit that belongs to cold feet.

Anonymous. U.S. proverb.


3. Conscience is an imitation within ourselves of the government without us.

Alexander Bain (1818-1903) British philosopher and psychologist. The Emotions and the Will (1859)


4. There cannot be a situation where a businessman says, “I base all my business on moral considerations.” Equally, you can’t say you can run a business without morality.

Timothy Bevan (b.1927) British banker. Said as Chairman of Barclays Bank Ltd,. When asked about Barclays’ withdrawal from South Africa. Observer (London) (November 30, 1986)


5. The world has achieved brilliance without conscience. Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants.

Omar Nelson Bradley (1893-1981) U.S. general. Armistice Address (1948)


6. A business must have a conscience as well as a counting house.

Montague Burton (1885-1952) British tailor and founder of the Burton Group. Attrib.


7. In many walks of life, a conscience is a more expensive encumbrance than a wife or a carriage.

Thomas De Quincey (1785-1859) British writer. “Preliminary Confessions,” Confessions of an English Opium-Eater (1821-56)


8. The task of the conscience activities is not to help the organization improve on its present activities. Its task is to

hold the organization to its own standards, to remind the organization what it should be, but isn’t doing.

Peter F. Drucker (b.1909) U.S. management consultant and academic. Recommending support activities which “set standards, create vision, and demand excellence in all key areas where a business needs to strive for excellence.” Management (1974)


9. There is one thing alone that stands the brunt of life throughout its course: a quiet conscience.

Euripides (484?-406? B.C.) Greek playwright. Hippolytus (428 B.C.)


10. Freedom of conscience entails more dangers than authority and despotism.

Michel Foucault (1926-84) French philosopher. Madness and Civilization (1965)


11. The more productively one lives, the stronger one’s conscience, and in turn, the more it furthers one’s productiveness.

Erich Fromm (1900-80) U.S. psychoanalyst and social philosopher. Man for Himself (1947)


12. Debt is an evil conscience.

Thomas Fuller (1654-1734) English physician and writer. Gnomologia (1732)


13. It is always term-time in the court of conscience.

Thomas Fuller (1654-1734) English physician and writer. Gnomologia (1732)


14. Conscience is a coward, and those faults it has not strength to prevent, it seldom has justice enough to accuse.

Oliver Goldsmith (1730-74) British playwright, writer, and poet. The Vicar of Wakefield (1766)


15. The mind is fearless so long as there is no reproach of conscience. When that comes, come breakage and bondage and a host of terrors.

Louise Imogen Guiney (1861-1920) U.S. poet and essayist. Goose Quill Papers (1885)


16. A society dedicated to the enrichment and enhancement of the self will only survive and certainly will only prosper if the dominant ethic is the support and encouragement of others.

Charles Handy (b.1932) British business executive and author. The Age of Unreason (1991)


17. They feel neither shame, remorse, gratitude nor goodwill.

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) British essayist and journalist. Referring to corporations. Table Talk (1821-22) no. 27


18. The market has no morality.

Michael Heseltine (b.1933) British politician and publisher. Interview, “Panorama,” BBC Television (June 1988)


19. Conscience is the name which the orthodox give to their prejudices.

John Oliver Hobbes (1867-1906) British novelist and dramatist. A Bundle of Life (1894)


20. If we cannot be powerful and happy and prey on others, we invent conscience and prey on ourselves.

Elbert Hubbard (1856-1915) U.S. humorist. The Philistine (1895-1915)


21. The glory of good men is their conscience and not in the mouths of men.

Thomas A Kempis (1380?-1471) German mystic, monk, and writer. De Imitatione Christi (1426)


22. Conscience: self-esteem with a halo.

Irving Layton (b.1912) Canadian poet. The Whole Bloody Bird (1969)


23. A man’s conscience begins life with him; if he does not keep friends with it, he is continually at warfare with this principle within.

Hannah Farnham Lee (1780-1865) U.S. author. Elinor Fulton (1837)


24. Our conscience is not the vessel of eternal verities. It grows with our social life and a new social condition means a radical change in conscience.

Walter Lippmann (1889-1974) U.S. political commentator, editor, and writer. “Some Necessary Iconoclasm,” A Preface to Politics (1914)


25. Sufficient conscience to bother him, but not sufficient to keep him straight.

David Lloyd-George (1863-1945) British prime minister. Referring to Ramsay MacDonald. Quoted in Life with Lloyd George (A. J. Sylvester; 1975)


26. It is neither safe nor prudent to do aught against conscience.

Martin Luther (1483-1546) German theologian. Table Talk (1569)


27. Conscience is the guardian in the individual of the rules which the community has evolved for its own preservation.

  1. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) British novelist, short-story writer, and dramatist. The Moon and Sixpence (1919)


28. Conscience is the inner voice that warns us somebody may be looking.

  1. L. Mencken (1880-1956) U.S. journalist, essayist, and critic. A Mencken Chrestomathy (1948)


29. The difference between a moral man and a man of honor is that the latter regrets a discreditable act, even when it has worked and he has not been caught.

  1. L. Mencken (1880-1956) U.S. journalist, essayist, and critic. Prejudices, Fourth Series (1924)


30. There is no witness so dreadful, no accuser so terrible as the conscience that dwells in the heart of every man.

Polybius (200?-118? B.C.) Greek politician and historian. History, bk. 18


31. Wisdom entereth not into a malicious mind, and science without conscience is but the ruin of the soul.

Francois Rabelais (1483?-1553) French writer, physician, and priest. Gargantua and Pantagruel (1534), bk. 2


32. I believe it is my duty to make money and still more money and to use the money I make for the good of my fellow man according to the dictates of my conscience.

John D. Rockefeller (1839-1937) U.S. industrialist, philanthropist, and founder of Standard Oil. Interview (1905)


33. Making money doesn’t oblige people to forfeit their honor or their conscience.

Guy De Rothschild (b.1909) French banker. The Whims of Fortune (1985)


34. Makes us rather bear those ills we have

Than fly to others we know not of?

Thus conscience does make cowards of us all.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English poet and playwright. Hamler (1601), Act 3, Scene 1


35. A peace above all earthly dignities,

A still and quiet conscience.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English poet and playwright. Henry VIII (1613), Act 3, Scene 2


36. If there be not a conscience to be used in very trade we shall never prosper.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English poet and playwright. Pericles (1606-08), Act 4, Scene 2


37. Most people sell their souls and live with a good conscience on the proceeds.

Logan Pearsall Smith (1865-1946) British essayist and critic. “Other People,” Afterthoughts (1931)


38. Trust that man in nothing who has not a conscience in everything.

Laurence Sterne (1713-68) British novelist and humorist. The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman (1760), bk. 2


39. I’ve got just as much conscience as any man in business can afford to keep-just a little, you know, to swear by as’t were.

Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-96) U.S. writer. Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852), ch. 1


40. A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) U.S. writer. “What is Man” (1906)


41. In all the ages, three-fourths of the support of the great charities has been conscience money.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) U.S. writer. A Humane Word from Satan (1905)


42. Conscience and cowardice are really the same things. Conscience is the trade-name of the firm.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish writer and wit. The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891), ch. 1