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abundance of the golden age.
To wealth in that sense Plato has no objection. But he far more commonly understands by wealth not this rude abundance, but the refined abundance of later times, the multifarious luxuries of sense, almost always associated by him with intemperance. . His description of the Oligarchical Man (in the 8th book of the Republic), is not inconsistent with this view. The Oligarchical Man is the money-maker, who devotes his whole energies to saving and accumulating wealth, instead of spending it; and, since he consumes only what is absolutely necessary to satisfy the needs of his physical nature, he is described as devoting himself to the satisfaction of his “necessary wants (ràs åvarykalous étiOvulas), though, like all misers, he is really not pursuing satisfaction of any concrete wants at alí, but an abstraction of the greatest possible quantity of the means of satisfaction generally. To Plato, his apparent temperance seems a kind of intemperance, for it does not spring from a regard to the real chief end of life ; and it leads directly to the intemperance of other men who prey upon his savings as drones on the honey of the working bees, and who thereby satisfy all manner of artificial and unnecessary wants.
Whether in the possessor of wealth himself or in other men, wealth and intemperance seem to Plato to go together. Hence he thinks it best for citizens of a good State to have neither poverty nor riches, for either extreme would be a temptation to sin in the individual and sedition in the State.
In the Laws, Plato speaks more than once of a fixed limit of wealth, which no one is to transgress under severe penalties. Human wants are limited by Nature or Reason ; once allow personal enrichment a free course, and the wants of man become insatiable and illimitable in defiance of reason and nature. The notion of infinity is understood, as regards human wants, in a purely negative sense. It means absence of limit, and therefore lawlessness and irrationality.
We could hardly expect to find the modern notion of an infinity of wants,
1 Cf. Phaedo, 66, C. We may perhaps consider the explicit distinction of luxuries and necessaries as first occurring in Plato.
3 προς χρηματισμόν τραπόμενος γλίσχρως και κατά σμικρών φειδόμενος και εργαζόμενος χρήματα συλλέγεται. .
conceived as an essential quality of human beings, and leading to a positive development of the spiritual nature of men.
But we might have expected Plato to recognise that the unconscious influences of beautiful sights and sounds' require external appliances and imply an account of outward wealth not very easily fixed. His answer might have been that after all the City of Pigs was his first love, and, in that, a much simpler education than that of his Second Ideal would have been enough. Yet from the slight attention given to this simple State, we may conclude that Plato himself saw that human wants could not fail to grow beyond it and become luxurious. A more plausible answer might have been that, the guardians having no private property, the wealth that provides for their education is not their own but the public wealth. But, against this, we may take his own words in the Laws, where he says it is no object even for the State to make itself as rich as possible ; and there are reasons for supposing that he would have applied to States as well as to individuals his principle that “poverty results from increase of man's desires, not from diminution of his property. Plato the artist and Plato the philosopher are not always in harmony with each other; and Plato the artist might take a different view of wealth from Plato the philosopher. The philosopher's view of wealth is the view that must rule our judgment of his economics; and on the whole his economic starting-point, his notion of wealth, is made by his philosophy less æsthetic than ascetic. The good man will have no wealth, or, if you call his outward goods his wealth, it will be “such as to be in harmony with his inward wealth"; 5 it will be small in quantity and of a fixed and determinate
He will be rich because, being wise, he will have few wants, knowing that the outside world, whether of men or of things, can do little or nothing for him.
II. Plato's conception of Production is in close con
i Republ. III. 400-402. See Lewis Nettleship, in Hellenica (1880), art. “The Theory of Education in the Republic of Plato.” 2 L., V. 742. 3 L., V. 736, E.
+ E.g. Laus, 743, A. 5 Phædrus, 279, C. Ewley 8 ora exw, etc. Cf. Sympos. (Speech of Socrates).
nection with this view of Wealth. It is important not that men should have as many wants as possible, and satisfy them all," but that they should find out what their special work is in the world and do it. He illustrates this doctrine in various passages of the Republic, and especially in the clearest of his economic analyses, the account of Division of Labour in the Second Book. A State, he there says, is formed because the individual is not able to supply all his wants by himself, but only when he makes common cause with other men, and devotes himself to one single industry for the common good, on the understanding that the rest are doing the same. Thus arise the separate trades of farming, building, weaving, and shoemaking; and this division of labour is best for the following reasons : Men and women are not all born alike, but with special powers fitting them for special work. Second, by attention to one occupation alone men will do much better work than when attempting several. Third, because time is saved and opportunities (of season, etc.) are more promptly utilized. In this way articles are made in greater number, of better quality, and with greater ease, than when each man is a Jack-of-all-trades.
Industrial division of labour is thus described as the origin of the State. State, however, means in this case no more than City or Society; and it is in his second city that we find a State in the sense of a central government.
In the Laws Plato gives the State a patriarchal origin. In the Republic, with a purely ethical aim (the discovery of Justice) he gives it (as it would seem) a purely economical origin. Yet the principle of division of labour is not to Plato peculiar to industry. It is a general principle of human nature, with many applica
i Cf. Gorgias, $ 491-494.
2 Republ., II., cf. IV. 3 Republ., II. 369, B. The account of Weaving in Politicus 279-80 is perhaps the best of his descriptions of industrial processes. For Xenophon's account of Division of Labour, see Note to this chapter.
- This is a fact which Adam Smith (Wealth of Nations, Bk. I.) did not ignore, but denied.
5 See below. Cf. Erdmann, Hist. of Philos., vol. i. 122. Erdmann calls the first “the necessary," the second, the “organic or rational State.”
6 Laws, III. 680.
tions. It is applied unreservedly to politics. The various classes in the State, the rulers and the ruled, whether men or women, are chosen from their birth because of their peculiar natural qualities—the gold, silver, or iron, in their nature, discovered by the Guardians. According to the metal of which they are made their work in life is prescribed for them. Once prescribed for them, it becomes their sole work. Versatility is no virtue. The “universal genius” (Hippias the Sophist, for example),' who can do and be anything, is to be escorted to the frontier. Actors, as trying to play more than one part in life, are to be excluded too.
It has been sometimes doubted whether industrial division of labour is illustrated by physiological division of functions and organs or is itself the source of the illustration. Plato would not have discussed this question of priority. Industrial and physiological division of labour is only an example of a very wide philosophical principle. The claim of justice as such, its essence as a moral virtue, is that every man and woman, every class in the State, and every faculty in the soul, should have their own special work to do. So far as that claim of justice goes, there is no room for dispute about the analogy of the professions and arts to handicrafts, and of all of them to the spiritual life of men and its organs. Plato takes advantage of the obviousness of this particular analogy to assume a much closer general analogy than can perhaps be granted. The assumption was perhaps largely due to his sensitive regard for the reader's need of illustrations to help him in following a philosophical argument. Plato has himself furnished reasons for doubting the completeness of the general analogy.
He tells us that the Philosopher should be a man of very varied powers, that specialists, whether in arts or handicrafts or politics, are all of them narrowed by their exclusive concern with their one occupation, one class of them indeed being marred and maimed by it in mind and body; 6 and finally, at least in his later years, he refused
i Republ., III. 398, A ; cf. Sophist, 234, A.
2 See Herbert Spencer, Study of Sociology, ch. iii., “Nature of the Social Science."
3 Cf. Politicus, 277, D. + Republ., VI. 593. Apology, 21-23.
6 Republ., VI. 495, D, E.
to apply his principle of the division of labour to international trade, considering that each State, unlike each individual, should be as far as possible self-sufficient and independent of its neighbours. It might be added that in the second ideal at least it is by no means Plato's belief that every man should be the judge of his own capacities, and should freely take up an occupation and pursue it from the love of it. The Guardians, who are the governing body in his ideal State, are to ascertain each child's capacities and fix its career for it accordingly. The philosopher indeed is a lover of work for its own sake; but that is not because he has chosen his own work for himself. His career is fixed for him, and he is allowed a certain freedom in his studies only because in the case of the intellect, compulsion is of no use, for nothing acquired under compulsion will remain in the mind. 3
Compulsory division of labour therefore was to be universal, in the later Platonic State. The division of labour which created the first or simpler City (the “ City of Pigs”) is described as spontaneous ; and it develops from agriculture into the simpler handicrafts, from them into inland trade with a common market and a currency, going on to a foreign commerce and a merchant navy." Finally, we have the unskilled labourers, whose special power is simply their physical strength, and who are not slaves but hired servants. Plato professes to regard this as a complete picture of what a State might be, for he finds in it that for the sake of which he made the picture, namely Justice, written in the relations of the members one with another. He leaves this simpler ideal with genuine reluctance, but practically confesses that men are so constituted that they will never for any length of time confine their wants within such narrow bounds.
These narrow bounds are in any case sufficiently wide to contain a very great part of what have been called the “purely economical” as distinguished from the merely
· Laws, IV. Cf. Rrpubl., VI. 495, D, beginning. On the other hand he will have no taxation of imports and exports, VIII. 847, B. 2 Republ., III. 414, 415.
3 Republ., VII. 536, E. + 16., II. 370, E, 371, Ă; cf. Laws, V. 747, E.