Aristotle, Adam Smith and Karl Marx

Aristotle, Adam Smith and Karl Marx

On Some Fundamental Issues in 21st Century Political Economy

Spencer J. Pack

Spencer Pack compares and contrasts Aristotle’s, Smith’s and Marx’s theoretical systems on six fundamental issues: exchange value, money, capital, character, government, and change. This book also provides insights on issues concerning the continuing development of world money, saving, managerial capitalism, corrupt governments, and various secular and religious movements for social change.

Chapter 3: Aristotle on Change and Government

Spencer J. Pack

Subjects: economics and finance, economic psychology, political economy, politics and public policy, political economy


ARISTOTLE ON CHANGE IN GENERAL The last chapter stressed the importance of the final cause, or the goal, for Aristotle. So, for example, when the goal is using money to acquire more money, rather than using money merely to circulate goods, everything changes for Aristotle. Money goes from being a good to a bad thing; from a natural to an unnatural thing. The goal of using money to acquire more money becomes limitless. The situation is similar for the role of the government or the state: its goal or final cause is of pivotal importance. Although the government or state originally comes into existence partly for economic reasons, its final cause or goal should be to assist in the flourishing of its citizens: to help them realize their capacities, their potentials, their powers. Before considering in detail the goal or function of the state, we should first consider in more detail Aristotle’s views on historical change, as well as the importance of the mean, and also what he means by change in general. Aristotle systematically looks at change from several perspectives and taxonomies. So, for example, he considers whether change is accidental or not: Everything which changes does so in one of three ways. It may accidentally, as for instance when we say that something musical walks, that which walks being something in which aptitude for music is an accident. Again, a thing is said without qualification to change because something belonging to it changes, i.e. in statements which refer...

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