Argumentum ad Lazarum

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Argument from Poverty

Also known as Argumentum ad Lazarum.

A claim is proclaimed to be true because the speaker is poor, or suffering from poverty.

  • A claim is made by a speaker who is in poverty.
  • Therefore his claim is true. ]]


Mr. Stalin and his compatriots are poor like us, therefore if they say they will wield power fairly, I believe them.

The poor student says he is super-motivated to use our venture capital to start an amazing website, so he must be telling the truth.

The former banker who is now impoverished says he has learned much from being poor and won't scam anyone ever again, so he must be telling the truth.

Everyone in her village is poor, therefore if she says she will share the generator we're giving her with everyone, she must be telling the truth.


As bad as suffering from poverty is, that in itself does not make a poor person's assertions true.

Realize that not every person is transformed by poverty into an enlightened being or polymathic philosopher who only speaks truths.

If the claim in question would motivate you to give the arguer money, resources, or a stock-brokers license, think twice. Talk is cheap.