Economic Ideas of Plato and Aristotle



Economic Ideas of Plato and Aristotle

                      Economic Ideas of Plato

In this Article I am going to discuss about the economic ideas of Plato and economic ideas of Aristotle. We will discuss Plato's 'Origin of state', 'Division of Labour', ' communism', 'Division of Society', 'slavery', ' value, money and interest'. We will further learn Aristotle's origin of the state, Communism, the scope of economics etc.

Economic ideas of Plato 

Plato(427-347BC ) was one of the greatest philosopher of the Greece who was the pupil of Socrates. Plato’s ideas on economic arose in his work, - ‘ The Republic.’ In which he discussed the organizing of the state, division of labour, slavery and communism and so on. Let us discussed the economic ideas  of Plato:

1.       Origine of  the state: According to Plato, a  state arises out of the needs of maintaining. He opines that no one is self-sufficient and all of us have many words, so one takes a helper for one purpose and another for another. When the helper and the partners are gathered together in one habitation, the body of inhabitants is termed as state. Thus, Plato found the origine  of the state on eh basis of economic consideration.

2.       Division of labour:  Plato advocated the division of labour in economic activities. Thus division of labour arose from the natural differences in human beings. He was interested  in the increase of efficiency and therefore he advocated for the increasing amount of specialization in production.

3.       Communism: Plato wanted to abolish the class conflict in the society; but not on the basis of equality of opportunity. Plato supported property community. He wanted to abolish some of the evils of the cast  system through his communism promote harmony of interest in the society.

4.       Division of society: Plato decided the entire society into major parts- 1. The ruling class and the  ruled class. The ruling class was a pravelaged class including philosophers, aristocrats, who enjoyed common ownership of property, the ruled class, on the other hand, included workers, agricultural labours who didn’t have the right to property.

5.       Slavery: Plato considered slavery as a permanent and necessary institution in the history of mankind. But he wanted treatment to the slavery.

6.       Value, money and interest: Plato considered that a producer should not charge more than the value of the commodity. To him, money was not only a medium of exchange but it was also a standard of value. So far as the interest was considered, he was not in favour of interest to be paid against the loans.


                            Economic ideas of Aristotle

Aristotle(384-322 B.C.)  was the most popular pupil of Plato. Although Aristotle did not contribute any published book on economic, yet many of his talks were related with the ancient economic problems.  So we can discussed Aristotle’s economic view as follows.

Origine of  the state: Aristotle explained that the origin of the state was not based on merely economic factors, but it was an outcome of the natural instinct of man to associate with other human beings or with other groups of the pupil. Thus, Aristotle regarded origine of the state as a product of a natural growth.

Communism: Aristotle attacked  the common ownership of Plato and advocated private ownership of the property as it was a natural instinct of man.

The scope of Economics: According to Aristotle, there were two parts of economic- household management and wealth earning economy. The household management was basically concerned with consumption of wealth in the satisfaction of the desires of life whereas wealth earning economy was related with the art of earning wealth. However, he was in favour of the household economy as it was natural one.

Value Money and interest: Plato recognized value as an inherent quality of the commodity while Aristotle considered that the value of the commodity was based on it’s use or it’s intensity of wants.

According to Aristotle, money was a useful way of facilitating exchange. He thought that money can act as a medium of exchange and also as a measures value and a standard of deferred payment. Aristotle was against the payment of a high rate of interest.

Division of labour and Slavery:  Like Plato, Aristotle also supported the division of labour or specialization in production Aristotle was also a supporter of slavery system. He considered slavery as a natural institution. 

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