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I think that this idea is English.

But there's a distinction made in the US between the nouveau riche and old money.  Part of which is that old money (see the Kennedys, etc)understand that part of their social role is to provide charity for those who don't have.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Sat Oct 20th, 2007 at 07:06:33 PM EST
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well, i wasn't raised in france, but it's interesting that what you describe was referred to as 'noblesse oblige' in england, perhaps revealing that there is no similar term in english.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Oct 20th, 2007 at 07:44:58 PM EST
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I don't know that it's that meaningful. for a long time the  english nobility were basically French, and the english language does grab terms from anywhere and adds them to the mix. Noblesse oblige is unusual, in that it isn't just assumed to be English and has kept its french identity.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat Oct 20th, 2007 at 08:57:23 PM EST
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