On the Common good

by Thucydides

"The great wish of some is to avenge themselves on some particular
enemy, the great wish of others is to save their own pocket.  Slow
in assembling, they devote a very small fraction of the time to the
consideration of any public object, most of it to the prosecution of
their own objects.  Meanwhile each fancies that no harm will come of
his neglect, that it is the business of someone else to look after
this or that for him; and so, by the same notion being entertained
by all separately, the common cause imperceptibly decays".

A quote from Thucydides, "The history of the Peloponnesian War", Book 1, section 141. 431-413 B.C. (as quoted in "Structured Walk-Throughs" by E. Yourdon). (Pardon the use of sexist language, but it is a quote.)