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last extremity of misery. Yet Plato does not renounce slavery, he does not even clearly recognise that his own theory of the earth-born, with their career determined from birth by their native gifts of intellect, amounted to a serious modification of the received theory and practice of slavery. He seems to adopt the view that foreigners conquered in war quite reasonably become slaves; and the most we can say for him is (1) that in his first or simplest ideal State there were no slaves;} (2) that slavery, in his second Ideal State, would seem to be not the hereditary foute of a whole race, but the lot of the incapable or the evil,whoever their parents may have been ; and (3) that in the State described in the Laws the condition of slaves is not to be one of extreme hardship. The fact remains, however, that Plato's philosophy did not carry him entirely beyond the ideas of his age in this important matter; and the conservatism of his political principles was in this point inconsistent with reform. The remarkable reform he would introduce (in the Republic) in regard to the position of women, placing them on a perfect equality with men as regards opportunities, is not fully carried out in the Laws. ciples had led him to a reform which he saw to be in present circumstances impracticable. Yet, of all his paradoxes, this is the one to which he clings most tenaciously; and even the changes of the Laws go beyond any known institutions of his own day in this particular.?
For judging of the importance of any thinker in the history of Economics, no matter is more important to us than the view he takes of the labouring population. In Plato's time these included freemen as well as slaves ; but his political philosophy prevented him from paying special regard to either class. Whether his psychology is rightly said to have been influenced (or coloured) by his political philosophy or not, it was clearly so with his economical views. His political philosophy led him to believe that the rulers of the best State must be philosophers; but the bulk of men (he considers) are
His prinin his eyes.
1 Republ., IX. 578.
etc. 5 Laws, VI. 776, 777.
3 lb., II. 371,
2 ]b., III. 415.
not and cannot be philosophers, and, in proportion as they have little philosophy, they have little political importance
He will allow them little political power, and they are of little account altogether. The unphilosophical Many should be ruled by the philosophical Few, and the many and conflicting appetites should be ruled by Reason. To suppose that any organization could be worked out by the people from below upwards would have seemed to him as strange as to suppose that the appetites might of themselves develop into something rational. His very anxiety to prevent the existence of extremes of wealth and poverty in the State is not founded on any sympathy with the sufferings of the poor. With the religious ascetics of a later day, he considered that sin was the only real misfortune, and neither pain nor poverty was an evil. If the poor man had been “of golden metal,” in other words of great powers of intellect, Plato's Guardians would have seized him at his birth and made him one of themselves; he would not have had wealth in the sense of extravagant profusion, but he would have possessed the means of developing his faculties; he might have fulfilled the promise and potency of his being. But to those of inferior metal Plato holds out no hope; he apparently thinks that the ordinary trade and commerce of his day and the unregenerate life of it are good enough for them; they are to be allowed, even in his Republic, to hold property and exchange it as people did in his own day, and he lays down no “national system of education" in which they should be included. The general principle of division of labour is so applied that the regenerate and unregenerate classes can never mingle, and the evils described by modern writers as flowing from industrial division of labour are not counteracted. It seems as if Plato had found by psychological analysis a principle of division of faculties which he transferred to politics and society, with too great a faith in the exactness of the analogy. In the present day we might doubt the correctness of the division
He does not seem to have found anything amiss in the judicial torture of slaves, which, as Mr. E. Poste reminds us (Aristotle's Constitution of Athens, 2nd ed., p. 139) took place in almost every action, criminal or civil, at Athens.
of the faculties of the soul and their functions, and we should certainly doubt whether on the strength of the analogy it could be maintained that the separation of classes should be a fixed fate even for the individual's lifetime. There are probably no modern theorists who would suggest that the State should destroy all openness of career, and itself undertake the determination of each man's work. Yet it is this kind of individual liberty which Plato disallows; he does not see the impossibility of an infallible State, and he does not see that there are reasons (quite apart from the fallibility of the State) why individual initiative should be left to all members of the State, and not confined to the philosophers.
If Plato grudges to admit the element of individual liberty in the sense of individual enterprise, industrial or otherwise, he does full justice to the dignity and value of the State as a function of society indispensable to human development. It is not the case that he identified State and Society, though he has no Greek word for the distinction. He refers to primitive societies that were not States (see Laws, III. 679), and he conceives (like Godwin and the Anarchists) that if all men were plain livers and high thinkers they would have no need of State or laws. Moreover, his recognition that the State is based on traditional custom implies that the custom itself is distinct from the State ; it is what we would call social and not political ; and he sees that the establishment of written laws and a constitution in accordance with that basis may be a slow and difficult achievement.
Yet the two, Society and State, stood much nearer to one another in those days, when State was Church and University in one, and the whole spiritual life of the nation found expression in that one organ.
Each citizen, too, felt his connection with the State to be very direct, for there was as yet no need for government by representatives, and he could take a personal part in all political action. If the large empires of modern times could ever be broken up into States of no larger size than the Hellenic, it would not be impossible then to have an action of government on individual and family life such as Plato designed, or Fichte after him. Society and State stand near to each other when the numbers are so small that all the citizens can take a direct part in government, and dispense with representatives. But there would be a difficulty in securing the desired isolation from other States, especially in trade; and, without that isolation, foreign influences would baffle the measures of the tiny home ‘governments. Politics may be still the "architectonic art," i but the architect has to work according to his materials and according to the purposes for which his building is wanted ; and even in a small modern State the purposes are hard to secure, while in a large the materials are far from plastic. In regard to industry and wealth, a modern statesman might agree with Plato that inequality of property is bad, and even that the increase of national wealth is not the chief end of the State. But he would also recognise that the governing body could not impose changes without convincing the governed of the necessity of them, and certainly could not prescribe for the nation the ultimate or even the proximate ends to be pursued.
1 So Prévost Paradol complained that the Revolution had founded a society, but not a government.- La France nouvelle, p. 296 (sce Lorimer, Institutes of Law, p. 549).
NOTE. The Republic was written about 381 B.C. Xenophon, in his Cyropædia (circa 362 B.c.) Book VIII. 2, shows us an even more "modern” Division of Labour and Separation of Trades in full operation. Dugald Stewart (Pol. Econ., I. 328) recalled attention to this passage. It runs as follows: "As the other crafts (réxrai) are carried out best of all in great cities, so the arrangements for meals are best managed in the king's household. In small cities, the man that makes beds may make doors, ploughs, and tables, and perhaps houses; he is glad if even so he can find customers enough to provide a living, and it is plainly impossible that a man practising many crafts can be good at them all. But in great cities, because there is a large demand for each article (Slà tò molloùs éxáotov delotai), a single craft is enough for a living, or sometimes, indeed, no more than a single branch of a craft ;—we find one man making men's boots only; and another, women's only; and another, cobbling or cutting out merely, for a livelihood; one man lives by cutting out garments, another by fitting together the pieces. The smaller the work the greater the skill in the craftsman (áváyky oủv tòv év βραχυτάτω διατρίβοντα έργα τουτον και άριστα διηναγκάσθαι τούτο ποιεϊν).”
1 Politicus, 305, E.
ARISTOTLE (384-322 B.C.) SEEING among Aristotle's Works a treatise on Economics, we might be led to hope that here at least we should not need to depend on hints from scattered passages. But, in the first place, the treatise is not Aristotle's, and, in the second, even if it were, it is devoted to domestic economy, not to economics in the modern sense of the word. We must gather Aristotle's views as we gathered Plato's; and we may take them for convenience under the same three heads, the view of Wealth, the view of Production and Distribution, and the view of Society and the State.
I. Wealth, says Aristotle, cannot be the chief end of man, for wealth is a collection of means to an end, the end being the satisfaction of human desires. The principle of teleology is drawn from the obvious facts of human experience ;-all human action and enterprise involve the pursuit of ends, and some of the ends are subordinate to others, while all are subordinate to one chief end, which ethical and political philosophy must define and explain. His philosophy defines it as the realizing of the faculties that are distinctively human ; and it is impossible (he allows) to realize these faculties without a sufficiency of outward goods and of leisure. A man must have the average worldly wealth of the average citizen before he can hope to attain to the highest good. “It is hard to be good without an income,” or to be happy without maturity of manhood, health, and freedom from pain, or without friends.5
1 As it is probably by a disciple of Aristotle, it has been used here occasionally in supplement of the known Aristotelian writings. 2 Ethics, I. 3, (5). Pol., I.
(8): ο πλούτος οργάνων πλήθος. 8 Ethics, I. 1.
ib., I. (8), 15. 5 ib., I. (9), 10; (10), 12, etc.; cf. VII. (13).