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Full Online Book HomeNonfictionsA Treatise On Government - BOOK I - Chapter IX
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A Treatise On Government - BOOK I - Chapter IX Post by :Joe_D. Category :Nonfictions Author :Aristotle Date :January 2011 Read :1099

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A Treatise On Government - BOOK I - Chapter IX

There is also another species of acquisition which they (1257a)
particularly call pecuniary, and with great propriety; and by this
indeed it seems that there are no bounds to riches and wealth. Now
many persons suppose, from their near relation to each other, that
this is one and the same with that we have just mentioned, but it is
not the same as that, though not very different; one of these is
natural, the other is not, but rather owing to some art and skill; we
will enter into a particular examination of this subject. The uses of
every possession are two, both dependent upon the thing itself, but
not in the same manner, the one supposing an inseparable connection
with it, the other not; as a shoe, for instance, which may be either
worn, or exchanged for something else, both these are the uses of the
shoe; for he who exchanges a shoe with some man who wants one, for
money or provisions, uses the shoe as a shoe, but not according to the
original intention, for shoes were not at first made to be exchanged.
The same thing holds true of all other possessions; for barter, in
general, had its original beginning in nature, some men having a
surplus, others too little of what was necessary for them: hence it
is evident, that the selling provisions for money is not according to
the natural use of things; for they were obliged to use barter for
those things which they wanted; but it is plain that barter could have
no place in the first, that is to say, in family society; but must
have begun when the number of those who composed the community was
enlarged: for the first of these had all things in common; but when
they came to be separated they were obliged to exchange with each
other many different things which both parties wanted. Which custom of
barter is still preserved amongst many barbarous nations, who procure
one necessary with another, but never sell anything; as giving and
receiving wine for corn and the like. This sort of barter is not
contradictory to nature, nor is it any species of money-getting; but
is necessary in procuring that subsistence which is so consonant
thereunto. But this barter introduced the use of money, as might be
expected; for a convenient place from whence to import what you
wanted, or to export what you had a surplus of, being often at a great
distance, money necessarily made its way into commerce; for it is not
everything which is naturally most useful that is easiest of carriage;
for which reason they invented something to exchange with each other
which they should mutually give and take, that being really valuable
itself, should have the additional advantage of being of easy
conveyance, for the purposes of life, as iron and silver, or anything
else of the same nature: and this at first passed in value simply
according to its weight or size; but in process of time it had a
certain stamp, to save the trouble of weighing, which stamp expressed
its value. (1257b)

Money then being established as the necessary medium of exchange,
another species of money-getting spon took place, namely, by buying
and selling, at probably first in a simple manner, afterwards with
more skill and experience, where and how the greatest profits might be
made. For which reason the art of money-getting seems to be chiefly
conversant about trade, and the business of it to be able to tell
where the greatest profits can be made, being the means of procuring
abundance of wealth and possessions: and thus wealth is very often
supposed to consist in the quantity of money which any one possesses,
as this is the medium by which all trade is conducted and a fortune
made, others again regard it as of no value, as being of none by
nature, but arbitrarily made so by compact; so that if those who use
it should alter their sentiments, it would be worth nothing, as being
of no service for any necessary purpose. Besides, he who abounds in
money often wants necessary food; and it is impossible to say that any
person is in good circumstances when with all his possessions he may
perish with hunger.

Like Midas in the fable, who from his insatiable wish had everything
he touched turned into gold. For which reason others endeavour to
procure other riches and other property, and rightly, for there are
other riches and property in nature; and these are the proper objects
of economy: while trade only procures money, not by all means, but by
the exchange of it, and for that purpose it is this which it is
chiefly employed about, for money is the first principle and the end
of trade; nor are there any bounds to be set to what is thereby
acquired. Thus also there are no limits to the art of medicine, with
respect to the health which it attempts to procure; the same also is
true of all other arts; no line can be drawn to terminate their
bounds, the several professors of them being desirous to extend them
as far as possible. (But still the means to be employed for that
purpose are limited; and these are the limits beyond which the art
cannot proceed.) Thus in the art of acquiring riches there are no
limits, for the object of that is money and possessions; but economy
has a boundary, though this has not: for acquiring riches is not the
business of that, for which reason it should seem that some boundary
should be set to riches, though we see the contrary to this is what is
practised; for all those who get riches add to their money without
end; the cause of which is the near connection of these two arts with
each other, which sometimes occasions the one to change employments
with the other, as getting of money is their common object: for
economy requires the possession of wealth, but not on its own account
but with another view, to purchase things necessary therewith; but the
other procures it merely to increase it: so that some persons are
confirmed in their belief, that this is the proper object of economy,
and think that for this purpose money should be saved and hoarded up
without end; the reason for which disposition is, that they are intent
upon living, but not upon living well; and this desire being boundless
in its extent, the means which they aim at for that purpose are
boundless also; and those who propose to live well, often confine that
to the enjoyment of the pleasures of sense; so that as this also seems
to depend upon what a man has, all their care is to get money, and
hence arises the other cause for this art; for as this enjoyment is
excessive in its degree, they endeavour to procure means proportionate
to supply it; and if they cannot do this merely by the art of dealing
in money, they will endeavour to do it by other ways, and apply all
their powers to a purpose they were not by nature intended for. Thus,
for instance, courage was intended to inspire fortitude, not to get
money by; neither is this the end of the soldier's or the physician's
art, but victory and health. But such persons make everything
subservient to money-getting, as if this was the only end; and to the
end everything ought to refer.

We have now considered that art of money-getting which is not
necessary, and have seen in what manner we became in want of it; and
also that which is necessary, which is different from it; for that
economy which is natural, and whose object is to provide food, is not
like this unlimited in its extent, but has its bounds.

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A Treatise On Government - BOOK I - Chapter X A Treatise On Government - BOOK I - Chapter X

A Treatise On Government - BOOK I - Chapter X
We have now determined what was before doubtful, whether or no the artof getting money is his business who is at the head of a family or astate, and though not strictly so, it is however very necessary; foras a politician does not make men, but receiving them from the hand ofnature employs them to proper purposes; thus the earth, or the sea, orsomething else ought to supply them with provisions, and this it isthe business of the master of the family to manage properly; for it isnot the weaver's business to make yarn, but to use it, and todistinguish what

A Treatise On Government - BOOK I - Chapter VIII A Treatise On Government - BOOK I - Chapter VIII

A Treatise On Government - BOOK I - Chapter VIII
(1256a) As a slave is a particular species of property, let us by allmeans inquire into the nature of property in general, and theacquisition of money, according to the manner we have proposed. In thefirst place then, some one may doubt whether the getting of money isthe same thing as economy, or whether it is a part of it, or somethingsubservient to it; and if so, whether it is as the art of makingshuttles is to the art of weaving, or the art of making brass to thatof statue founding, for they are not of the same service; for the onesupplies