Aristotle, Politics (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Arist. Pol.].
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1259a.1and Apollodorus [Note] of Lemnos have written about both agriculture and fruit-farming, and similarly others also on other topics, so these subjects may be studied from these authors by anybody concerned to do so; but in addition a collection ought also to be made [Note] of the scattered accounts of methods that have brought success in business to certain individuals. All these methods are serviceable for those who value wealth-getting, for example the plan of Thales [Note] of Miletus, which is a device for the business of getting wealth, but which, though it is attributed to him because of his wisdom, is really of universal application. Thales, so the story goes, because of his poverty was taunted with the uselessness of philosophy; but from his knowledge of astronomy he had observed while it was still winter that there was going to be a large crop of olives, so he raised a small sum of money and paid round deposits for the whole of the olive-presses in Miletus and Chios, which he hired at a low rent as nobody was running him up; and when the season arrived, there was a sudden demand for a number of presses at the same time, and by letting them out on what terms he liked he realized a large sum of money, so proving that it is easy for philosophers to be rich if they choose, but this is not what they care about. Thales then is reported to have thus displayed his wisdom, but as 1259a.20a matter of fact this device of taking an opportunity to secure a monopoly is a universal principle of business; hence even some states have recourse to this plan as a method of raising revenue when short of funds: they introduce a monopoly of marketable goods. There was a man in Sicily who used a sum of money deposited with him to buy up all the iron from the iron mines, and afterwards when the dealers came from the trading-centers he was the only seller, though he did not greatly raise the price, but all the same he made a profit of a hundred talents [Note] on his capital of fifty. When Dionysius [Note] came to know of it he ordered the man to take his money with him but clear out of Syracuse on the spot, [Note] since he was inventing means of profit detrimental to the tyrant's own affairs. Yet really this device is the same as the discovery of Thales, for both men alike contrived to secure themselves a monopoly. An acquaintance with these devices is also serviceable for statesmen, for many states need financial aid and modes of revenue like those described, just as a household may, but in greater degree; hence some statesmen even devote their political activity exclusively to finance. And since, as we saw, [Note] the science of household management has three divisions, one the relation of master to slave, of which we have spoken before, [Note] one the paternal relation, and the third the conjugal [Note]—for it is a part of the household science to rule over wife and children (over both as over freemen, yet not with the same mode of government, but over the wife to exercise republican government and over the children monarchical);


Aristotle, Politics (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Arist. Pol.].
<<Arist. Pol. 1258b Arist. Pol. 1259a (Greek) >>Arist. Pol. 1259b

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