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Week 4 blog revision – Vivian

 Smith’s world in his “Theory of Moral Sentiments” demonstrates how society chooses to ‘go with the flow’—that is, the flow established by the wealthy. Smith says that the inferiors admire and envy the rich; instead of being mad with jealousy and trying to take down their superiors, everyone wants to serve and aid the rich in keeping their world seemingly perfect. He states that “the profligacy of a man of fashion is looked upon with much less contempt and aversion, than that of a man of meaner condition.” When the rich commit follies, the society choose to overlook those in order to keep their superiors on the high pedestal they currently view them. Yet if the poor do even one wrong thing, society looks down upon them even more.

The poor admire the wealthy, and so wish to be just like them. They imitate them in every way, from the clothes they wear, the way they live, down to the vices they commit. As Smith states, “With most men the presumption and vanity of the [wealthy] are much more admired, than the real and solid merit of the [virtuous].” Commiting the folly of the wealthy plauges their conscience, but they think that the admiration they will attain from their wealth will make up for it. However, spending money like the rich, just fuels the poor even more into poverty, thus creating this cycle of the poor staying poor and looked down upon. The poor follows the flow, the trend, the rules that the wealthy set, but where does it get them? Nowhere, just ever deeper into poverty and society’s contempt.

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