Aristotle begins the study of politics with the household and its parts as the parts of the whole, the city, is composed. His discussion of the family gives three kinds of rule that is found in the household, master over slave, husband over wife and father over child. Aristotle provides an intellectual and rational means to the good life and the best society, or politics is autonomous and self-sufficient, that is, it is an activity independent of other spheres of human endeavor, and thus a sphere possessing knowledge and a technique independent of other forms of knowledge.
To Aristotle community is based on reason. So, to Aristotle the polis and the logos are inextricably interwoven. The expansion or acquisition of property could be said to be internal dissension and internal strife, which deems salutary to the power and growth of Rome while laments the strife and factionalism that was a direct cause contributing to the fall of the republic. This stress on strife and conflict is significant in that is shows that the internal conflict over acquisition is transformed into an external conflict for acquisition.
Aristotle’s view of society called the substantial form or the soul of the human body was conceived in such a way that the human being was seen to depend on the community for the satisfaction of its needs. Natural law forms the basis of all positive law, and whenever a positive legal stipulation contradicts this natural law, it loses its legal validity. It is possible to deduce objective natural law, valid for humanity as a whole, from teleological ethical basic principle. Aristotle defends politics by considering whether human beings are natural slaves and by repelling the economic view that all nature is the property of man.
With property and money in Aristotle’s opinion, nature does require and permit property, but she does not require humans to acquire many possessions for the sake of their economic wellbeing. She may, however, require and permit the pursuit of another kind of wealth in virtually unlimited quantities. The tools, or wealth, that human beings use are secured by the art of moneymaking. But how human beings use wealth and therefore to some extent how much they use would seem to be determined by the household manager. So it is somewhat unclear whether moneymaking is properly the same as, a part of, or a subsidiary of household management.
Both the household and the city are properly concerned with the perfect preservation of human beings and their rulers presumably acquire and use all things for that end. Nature has made all things for the use of human beings. We need as much of what moneymaking provides us as is necessary for life and for the good life secured in the household and the city. If the things that human beings can possess or use are of great variety, as indeed they seem to be and if it is the task of moneymaking to contemplate where useful things and property come from, then moneymaking must contemplate virtually all of visible nature and seek its cause or causes.
However useful to economics and politics moneymaking may be, the study of nature or natural philosophy, to which moneymaking gives rise might return to its beginnings in economics. Human beings can use their skills to acquire nourishment and the store of things useful for life and the good life in various ways, nature seems to facilitate their consumption of her resources. Humans and other animals are said to be able to procure nourishment with ease and even according to their choice. Humans can combine various nourishments and the means of procuring them in order to live more pleasantly.
Among the perfectly acceptable mans are robbery, the use of all inferior beings in nature, and even war against intransigent inferiors. These means are not contrary to nature and do not amount to expropriation from a hostile nature. Nature seems to sanction these means as necessary. When nature’s selfishness becomes all too apparent a second kind of acquisition comes into being. Nature’s failure to guarantee the self-sufficiency of each individual necessitates exchange. Although not by nature, exchange is according to nature, fir it serves her end of preservation.
True moneymaking emerges reasonably from exchange or barter but becomes something different. Exchange, especially with foreigners is facilitated by the invention of money. Once its value has been agreed upon and signified by an impression on its face, money becomes the measure and standard for the value of the necessary things traded. Money and all other things come to be used to make more money and the generation of money from money, or interest, becomes comparable to natural genesis. Moneymaking and devotion to money, it appears, are as limitless as the natural human desires for life and pleasure.
Money assumes central importance because it is thought to ensure satisfaction of the original desire for preservation carried to its logical conclusion, the desire for immortal happiness. Aristotle acknowledges that the culmination of moneymaking in usury is hated, but he himself does not condemn the unlimited form of moneymaking. He even teaches the art of trade, a form of moneymaking. He does, however, contend that it is an error to equate money with true wealth. Locke contends that there is a natural law derived from reason regulating the relations of individuals in the natural condition.
The law of nature contains three distinct but interrelated commands. Locke claims that the power to execute the natural law is every mans, whereby each individual has the right to punish anyone who violates the natural law by threatening one’s self-preservation or harming another in their life, liberty or possessions. In regards to private property it involves both the explicit renunciation of property claims and implicit recognition of the equality of the private party to agreements.
Locke may mean no more than that any explicit agreement with another regarding one matter includes implicit recognition of the property integrity of the various parties. Locke may intend a more expansive construction of the meaning of implicit recognition such that any explicit assertion of property integrity by one state produces an implicitly renunciation by that state of any property claim against any other. Locke assumes that every individual must have property of its own.
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