Charles Darwin: Misery by Our Institutions

Posted by admin on Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Charles Darwin Money Quote saying when we are actually causing the poor to suffer with policy, then we are evil. Charles Darwin said:
If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin Quote

“If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin” — Charles Darwin


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In this quote, Charles Darwin seems to be making an observation about poverty and its causes. Some key points:

  • He acknowledges that if poverty and suffering of the less fortunate is caused or exacerbated by “our institutions” (systems created by society/government), then that represents a “great sin” or moral failing.
  • However, Darwin qualifies that if poverty results from natural laws or circumstances outside human control, it would not constitute a societal sin in the same way.
  • This implies Darwin believed humans and societies should not design systems in ways that knowingly or needlessly impose hardship, and have a responsibility to address inequities that result from policies/structures rather than inevitable conditions.

Overall, the quote conveys Darwin’s perspective that if analysis finds poverty stems more from social constructs within human control rather than immutable laws of nature, then societies are culpable for that “misery” and should work to remedy injustices embedded within human-designed political and economic institutions. For Darwin, such institution-caused poverty represented a collective societal failing.

Birthday February 12, 1809 – Died April 19, 1882


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