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1. Draw your salary before spending it.

George Ade (1866-1944) U.S. humorist. “The People’s Choice,” Forty Modern Fables (1901)


2. Be content with your wages.

Bible. Luke, 3:14


3. The laborer is worthy of his hire.

Bible. Luke, 10:7


4. A fair day’s wages for a fair day’s work: it is as just a demand as governed men ever made of governing.

Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) British historian and essayist. Past and Present (1843)


5. The progress of human society consists…in…the better and better apportioning of wages to work.

Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) British historian and essayist. Past and Present (1843), bk. 1,ch. 3


6. By this time two years I can so arrange all my business as to secure at least 50,000 per annum. Beyond this never earn-make no effort to increase fortune, but spend the surplus each year for benevolent purposes.

Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919) U.S. industrialist and philanthropist. Carnegie’s spelling was not always very good-“benevolent”-and, indeed, he gave financial backing to the Simplified Spelling Board. Private memo to himself (December 1868)


7. Whatever your  wages are, save a little. Live within our means. The heads of stores, farms, banks…insurance companies, mills and factories are not seeking capital; they are seeking brains and business habits. The man who saves…has given the surest indication of the qualities which every employer is seeking for.

Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919) U.S. industrialist and philanthropist. The fifth of his rules of business success. “From Oakland: How to Succeed in Life,” The Pittsburgh Bulletin (December 19, 1903)


8. Not a penny off the pay; not a minute on the day.

A.J. Cook (1885-1931) British labor union leader. Speech during the British General Strike of 1926. (1926)


9. A fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work.

Benjamin Disraeli (1804-81) British prime minister and novelist. Sybil (1845)


10. It is determined, in the last result, by the consumer, without regard to the needs or expectations of the worker.

Peter F. Drucker (b.1909) U.S. management consultant and academic. Referring to the worker’s wage. Management (1974)


11. In every work a reward added makes the pleasure twice as great.

Euripides (484?-406? B.C.) Greek playwright. Rhesus (450? B.C.)


12. Anything that promises to pay too much can’t help being risky.

Dorothy Fisher (1879-1958) U.S. writer. The Deepening Storm (1930)


13. Industry must manage to keep wages high and prices low. Otherwise it will limit the number of its customers. One’s own employees should be one’s best customers.

Henry ford (1863-1947) U.S. industrialist, automobile manufacturer, and founder of Ford Motor Company. Quoted in The American Treasury 1455-1955 (Clifton Fadiman, ed.; 1955)


14. Men work but slowly, that have poor wages.

Thomas Fuller (1654-1734) English physician and writer. Gnomologia (1732), no. 3407


15. The income men derive from producing things of slight consequence is of great consequence. The production reflects the low marginal utility of the goods to society. The income reflects the high total utility of a livelihood to a person.

  1. K. Galbraith (b.1908) U.S. economist and diplomat. The Affluent Society (1958), ch. 21


16. It is but a truism that labor is most productive where its wages are largest. Poorly paid labor is inefficient labor, the world over.

Henry George (1839-97) U.S. economist. Progress and Poverty (1879), bk. 9


17. Dr_well remembered that he had a salary to receive, and only forgot that he had a duty to perform.

Edward Gibbon (1737-94) British historian. Memoirs of My Life (1796)


18. When employers are forced to pay high wages for low-productivity jobs, they attract a glut of applicants who can best be sorted out by credentials. Bricklayers, toll-booth personnel, building workers and truck drivers have all often been required to have high-school diplomas.

George Gilder (b.1939) U.S. economist. Wealth and Poverty (1981)


19. Already today, no matter what you do, the money you receive is more and more likely to track the recognition that comes to you for doing what you do. If there is nothing very special about your work, no matter how hard you apply yourself you won’t get noticed, and that increasingly means you won’t get paid much either.

Michael Goldhaber (b.1942) U.S. physicist, academic and author. “Attention Shoppers!,” Wired Magazine (December 1997)


20. We’re overpaying him, but he’s worth it.

Samuel Goldwyn (1882-1974) U.S. producer. Attrib.


21. My task accomplished and the long day done, My wages taken and in my heart

Some late lark singing…

  1. E. Henley (1849-1903) British poet and playwright. “In Memoriam Margaritae Sororis,” Echoes (1889)


22. The theory of the determination of wages in a free market is simply a special case of the general theory of value. Wages are the price of labour.

John Richard Hicks (1904-89) British economist. The Theory of Wages (1932), pt. 1


23. In the not too distant future the notion of the annual pay increase must become as exceptional as it was novel a generation ago.

Geoffrey Howe (b.1926) British politician. “Sayings of the Week,” Observer (London) (October 24, 1982)


24. All wages are based primarily on productive power. Anything else would be charity.

Elbert Hubbard (1856-1915) U.S. humorist. Notebook (1927)


25. The Americans are such stupid creatures that if we make their employers deduct our loot from the cash or check they receive, they will never knew the difference…but if they actually have the money in their hands before they pay us, even such dumb brutes might see what we are doing and might get ideas.

Vivien Kellems (1896-1975) U.S. industrialist, feminist and lecturer. Quoted in American Heroine (Revilo P. Oliver; 1989)


26. The most un-American phrase in our modern vocabulary is “take-home pay.”

Vivien Kellems (1896-1975) U.S. industrialist, feminist and lecturer. Toil, Taxes and Trouble (1952)


27. Each in his place, by right, not grace,

Shall rule his heritage-

The men who simply do the work

For which they draw the wage.

Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) British novelist, poet and short-story writer. “The Wage-Slaves” (1903)


28. Wages ought not to be insufficient to support a frugal and well-behaved wage-earner.

Leo XIII (1810-1903) Italian pontiff. Rerum novarum (May 15, 1891)


29. I don’t care how hard money is

Ez long ez mine’s paid punctooal.

James Russell Lowell (1819-91) U.S. poet and diploma. The Biglow Papers, First Series (1848)


30. As we know well, price policies and wage control policies do not succeed; they just create a dam which, when it bursts, creates something worse than existed before.

Harold MacMillan (1894-1986) British prime minister. Speech, House of Lords (January 23, 1985)


31. Wages are determined by the bitter struggle between capitalist and worker.

Karl Marx (1818-83) German political and economic philosopher. Early Writings (T. B. Bootomore, ed.; 1963)


32. The bad workmen who form the majority of the operatives in many branches of industry are decidedly of the opinion that bad workmen ought to receive the same wages as good.

John Stuart Mill (1806-73) British economist and philosopher. On Liberty (1859)


33. As a general view, remuneration by fixed salaries does not in any class of functionaries produce the maximum amount of zeal.

John Stuart Mill (1806-73) British economist and philosopher. Principles of Political Economy (1848)


34. The efficiency of industry may be expected to be great, in proportion as the fruits of industry are insured to the person exerting it.

John Stuart Mill (1806-73) British economist and philosopher. Principles of Political Economy (1848)


35. Economy: cutting down other people’s wages.

  1. B. Morton (1893-1979) British writer and humorist. Attrib.


36. It is an economic axiom as old as the hills that goods and services can be paid for only with goods and services.

Albert Jay Nock (1870-1945) U.S. author. Memoirs of a Superfluous Man (1943)


37. Large consumption is at the basis of saving in manufacture, and hence high wages contribute their share to progress.

Thomas Brackett Reed (1839-1902) U.S. politician. Speech in the House of Representatives (November 1, 1894)


38. There is no way of keeping profits up but by keeping wages down.

David Ricardo (1772-1823) British economist. On Protection to Agriculture (1820)


39. Wages should be left to the fair and free competition of the market, and should never be controlled by the interference of the legislature.

David Ricardo (1772-1823) British economist. Principles of Political Economy and Taxation (1817)


40. I worked for a menial’s hire.

Only to learn, dismayed,

That any wage I had asked of life,

Life would have paid.

Jessie Belle Rittenhouse (1869-1948) U.S. poet and literary critic. Quoted in A Book of Living Poems (William R. Bowlin, ed.; 1934)


41. No business which depends for existence on paying less than living wages to its workers has any right to continue in this country…by living wages I mean more than a bare subsistence level-I mean the wages of decent living.

Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945) U.S. president. Address (1933)


42. Entrepreneurial profit…is the expression of the value of what the entrepreneur contributes to production in exactly the same sense that wages are the value expression of what the worker “produces.” It is not a profit of exploitation any more than are wages.

Joseph Alois Schumpeter (1883-1950) U.S. economist and social theorist. The Theorist of Economic Development (1934)


43. He is well paid that is well satisfied.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English poet and playwright. The Merchant of Venice (1596-98), Act. 4, Scene 1


44. The price of ability does not depend on merit but on supply and demand.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) Irish writer and critic. “Socialism and Superior Brains,” Fortnightly Review (April 1894)


45. Masters are always and everywhere in a sort of tacit, but constant and uniform, combination, not to raise the wages above heir actual rate.

Adam Smith (1723-90) British economist and philosopher. An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776)


46. Wages are the measure of dignity that society puts on a job.

Johnnie Tillmon (1926-95) U.S. welfare rights activist. “Welfare is a Woman’s Issue,” The First Ms Reader (Francis Klagsbrun, ed.; 1972)


47. If you do things by the job, you are perpetually driven: the hours are scourges. If you work by the hour, you gently sail on the stream of Time, which is always bearing you on to the haven of Pay, whether you make any effort or not.

Charles Dudley Warner (1829-1900) U.S. writer. My Summer in a Garden (1871)


48. Bonuses, as well as salaries, reward the finding and sharing of ideas even more than their origination.

Jack Welch (b.1935) U.S. former chairman and C.E.O. of General Electric. Interview in The Winning Streak Mark II (Walter Goldsmith and David Clutterbuck; 1997)


49. When a man says he wants to work, what he means is that he wants wages.

Richard Whately (1787-1863) British archbishop and economist. Quoted in Principles of Political Economy (Henry Sidgwick; 1883)


50. The trouble with the profit system has always been that it was highly unprofitable to most people.

  1. B. White (1899-1985) U.S. writer. One Man’s Meat (1942)


51. There is no rate of pay at which a United States pick-and-shovel laborer can live which is low enough to compete with the work of a steam shovel as an excavator.

Norbert Weiner (1894-1964) U.S. mathematician. Cybernetics or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine (1948)


52. One man’s wage increase is another man’s price increase.

Harold Wilson (1916-95) British prime minister. Speech, Blackburn, England (January 8, 1970)