“It is only the poor who pay cash, and that not from virtue, but because they are refused credit” — Anatole France
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This quote from Anatole France suggests that lower-income individuals tend to pay for purchases with cash rather than credit not because of personal financial responsibility, but out of necessity since they are often denied credit options.
The deeper interpretation is that France saw a lack of access to credit as another way the poor face systemic economic disadvantages compared to the wealthy. While credit allows flexibility and purchasing power, the poor are effectively “refused” this option due to being seen as too high of a lending risk.
The quote highlights the inequities built into financial systems where those with fewer resources have less choice in payment methods and face more barriers to participating fully in the consumer economy due to inadequate access to lines of credit.