Greek Economics, Introduction & Translation

Greek Economics, Introduction & Translation

Greek Economics, Introduction & Translation

Greek Economics, Introduction & Translation

Excerpt

Of great riches there is no real use, except it be in the distribution; the rest is but conceit. So saith Solomon: "Where much is, there are too many to consume it; and what hath the owner, but the sight of it with his eyes?" -- BACON.

§ 1

EVEN at the present time it is not uncommon to hear it said that Political Economy is a science which has only originated and developed during the last hundred and fifty years, and that the Greeks, in spite of their immense contribution to almost every branch of human knowledge, paid little or no attention to this science. There is some justification for this misapprehension, for it is perfectly true that no comprehensive Greek' treatise dealing specifically with Political Economy has been preserved; nor, indeed, is there any evidence that such a treatise was ever composed by a Greek writer, in the way that Aristotle, for example, wrote works on Ethics or on Political Science. Political Economy, or Economics, as a separate subject divorced from other branches of philosophical speculation, dates only from the end of the eighteenth and beginning of the nineteenth century. The Greeks had no word to express what is now meant by either of these two names. Perhaps the nearest approach to such a term is that used by Aristotle, chrematistike, which is more accurately translated "the science of supply," than, as has been done by some modern writers, "the science of wealth." The word oeconomia . . .

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