“The poor in all parts of the world bear an inveterate hatred to the rich, even while they creep and cringe to them; and the rich treat the poor like sheep, whose wool and flesh they barter for money” — Voltaire
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This quote from Voltaire criticizes the relationship between the rich and poor. He says that while the poor hate the rich, they still “creep and cringe” to them out of necessity. At the same time, the rich treat the poor “like sheep” and see them only as a means to make money, whether through their labor, wool, or flesh.
Voltaire is pointing out the imbalance of power and lack of dignity in how the wealthy view and interact with those in poverty. The quote captures Voltaire’s belief that the divide between social classes often led the rich to objectify and take advantage of the poor for economic gain.