The greeks and taoism
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The Greeks and Taoism. Reference: Rothbard I: 1. The First Philosophers. It all begun, as usual, with the Greeks The first civilized people to use REASON to think systematically about the world around them, rather than attributing natural events to arbitrary creation of gods. .

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The Greeks and Taoism

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The Greeks and Taoism

Reference: Rothbard I: 1

The First Philosophers

  • It all begun, as usual, with the Greeks

  • The first civilized people to use REASON to think systematically about the world around them, rather than attributing natural events to arbitrary creation of gods.

Three Generations

  • Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle

  • Polis: even in most democratic polis, Athen, only 7% of people have the privileges.

  • Plato: three trials for Syracuse and 9 of his students succeeded in establishing themselves as tyrants over Greek city states.

  • Aristotle: after 20 years of study in Platos Academy, tutored Alexander the Great (died in age of 33).

  • For Plato and Aristotle, the good was naturally pursued by the Polis, not the individual person.

  • Virtue and good life were polis- , rather than individual-oriented.

  • They were statist and elitist. Their philosophy never arrived at the later elaboration, first in the Middle Ages and then in 17th and 18th century, of the natural rights of the individual which may not be invaded by man or by government.

  • Elitist: contempt for labor and for trade, pursuing military arts and agriculture.

  • The Greek elevation of the Polis over the individual led to their taking a dim view of economic innovation and entrepreneurship.

  • Their kind of social ideal was designed to promote a frozen society of politically determined status, and certainly not a society of creative and dynamic individuals and innovators.

Platos Collectivist Utopia

  • The Republic:

    • Philosopher: kings and their philosophic colleagues maintain oligarchic rule, ensuring the community ruled by the best and wisest.

    • Guardian: defend polis

    • People: despised producers

  • Two ruling classes are forced to live under pure communism, with no private property, including women and children.

    • Money and private possessions corrupt virtue

    • Marriage partners are selected by the state. (personal happiness means nothing compared to the happiness of the polis)

    • noble lie: the elites are descended from the gods whereas other classes are of inferior heritage.

Contribution of Plato in economic thought

  • The first to analyze the importance of the division of labor.

  • Plato points out that this division of labor increases the production of all the goods.


  • Platos student

  • Anticipation of Adam Smiths famous dictum: the extent of the division of labor is necessarily limited by the extent of the market for the products.

  • The difference between small and large towns

Aristotle: private property

  • Private property is more productive and will therefore lead to progress. People neglect others interest.

  • Platos arguments for communal property is that it is conducive to social peace, since no one will be envious of, or try to grab the property of, another. Aristotle: people will complain that they have worked harder and obtained less than others who have done little and taken more from the common store.

  • Private property had existed always and everywhere. To impose communal property on society would be to disregard the record of human experience. Abolishing private property would probably create more problems than it would solve.

  • A brilliant insight: only private property furnishes people with the opportunity to act morally, e.g. to practice the virtues of benevolence and philanthropy. The compulsion of communal property would destroy that opportunity.

On interest

  • Since money cannt be USED directly, thus it is barren and cant increase wealth. Therefore, charging of interest was strongly condemned as contrary to nature.

On value and exchange

  • Builder and shoemaker: seems to be equal value.

  • A forerunner of labor theory of value (of Marxism)

  • Austrian: reverse inequality.

  • Discussion: two piles of shits.


  • Collapse of economic thought

  • Cicero: Alexander the Great and the pirate


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