Intellectual history of the Europe

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Part 1 of the essay

Marcia Colish in her chapter on the Legacy of Scholasticism claims that according to the most influential theorists between the fifth and the thirteenth centuries, «the right to property was not absolute.» Explain how Colish arrives at this conclusion. In your concluding paragraph, give your evaluation/perspective on views held by these theorists of property. What do you find acceptable or objectionable in the medieval view of property?

At the analysis of a question on the property in the Middle Ages very important was to consider that self-maintenance of the direct manufacturer, reproduction him as member of a community, corporation was the purpose of manufacture both in agriculture, and in craft first of all, and maintenance of its feudal seigneur is equal also. Profit reception, стяжание, accumulation of riches were alien большей to a part of members of this society; the exception was made by church, a merchant layer of urban population and a nobility part, however mainly already during an epoch of the «mature» and late Middle Ages, instead of at the beginning of it. During the period of the early Middle Ages the riches were necessary for a ruling class first of all as means of consumption, satisfaction of personal and class requirements, instead of as an accumulation and enrichment source.

Thus it is necessary to mean mainly wood landscape of Average and Northern Europe. Pretty often people lodged not in the big compact weights, and small groups of several families or separate families at some distance from each other. Separated sometimes in the big distances, separate owners cultivated the isolated sites. They have been connected among themselves by using not divided grounds, necessity of protection of the earths from encroachments of extraneous persons, requirement for joint maintenance of an order, observance of customs, cult departure.

When some owners used the sites located side by side, inevitably there were schedules to which all should submit, but these schedules did not create any special right of the collective property so alien to consciousness of barbarians, as well as the right of a private property to the earth.

Thus, the property here meant only the relation of the person to conditions of its manufacture or reproduction as to the, and these conditions of production were not result of work of the farmer, and its precondition. The property in the specified sense was reduced to assignment of conditions of subjective activity of the making individual and carried out only through manufacture. The concept of the general property has completely developed only when the rights of separate owners to grounds belonging to them as together with it there was a requirement for differentiation of the general and private began to be individualised.

Part 2 of the essay

In her discussion of Thomas Aquinas and the use of money, Colish says that Aquinas «enlists Aristotelian teleology as a weapon against the profit motive.» Colish then goes on to conclude that Aquinas' original argument is a «triumph of Aristotelian metaphysics over economic reality.» Using your own words, give a careful summary of Colish’s interpretation of Aquinas and show how effectively she makes her case for the decisive influence of Aristotle on Aquinas' theory of money and its use.

Thomas Aquinas recognises that trade and dealers are necessary in the state. Certainly, it would be better, if each state made all that is necessary for it but as it is seldom possible it is necessary to reckon with activity of merchants, even the foreign.

But the trading activity directed to a fair exchange, should used with requirements of Christian ethics. Without stopping on the scholastic form of a statement and on purely theological reasons, we will note the thoughts interesting from the point of view of development of economic ideas.

Needless to say that all versions of a deceit are exposed to strict condemnation. Lips of sacred Thomas Aquinas the church demands, that the seller found out goods lacks and that the buyer did not use an error or ignorance of the seller.

More difficultly and more interestingly a question and laws of transactions in which the obvious deceit (goods latent defects) is not present. In what measure the seller can search for profits and rise the price, and the buyer to try to buy more cheaply the usual price?

From the point of view of Christian morals, profit search in itself is inadmissible. But depending on circumstances possibility to admit additional compensation against a simple equivalent on one of two reasons opens. The seller, conceding a subject belonging to it to the buyer at the price of the higher, exact equality of equivalents, maybe, rather than would demand that average compensation which is necessary on the general conditions leaves a subject which deprivation makes for it a personal damage and fall more considerable, than. This subjective surplus — a damage rather with average value — should be compensated on justice. It is easy to see that Thomas Aquinas 's these reasonings make a starting point so-called damhum emergens.

Other motivation of additional profit — as compensations for the special benefits resulting for the buyer from a subject of sale is possible also. But this qualification Thomas Aquinas does not recognise, because nobody can sell that does not belong to it, and in this case special benefit is a condition entered, not dependent on the seller.

Besides this subjective moment ennobling value of a thing, Thomas Aquinas supposes also other rather essential conditions, but, unfortunately, does not develop more in detail the thoughts in this direction and is limited to that marks supervising reasons. Thus, it becomes clear that for Thomas Aquinas the main business in the purpose of any business. For the sake of the help poor, either household maintenance, or advantage public it is possible to search for profits in trading business. There is no need to extend, what gap is punched by this assumption in the doctrine about strict balance of equivalents. The second assumption is even more considerable — work grants the right to a merchant to search, compensations — in this case profits. Thomas Aquinas does not explain, however, conditions of such work. There is also in a shade a vital issue about ways of definition of the fair price.

Other question is a question on the credit. From the point of view of the doctrine about the fair price Thomas Aquinas does not suppose an eminence of the price depending on a delay of payment or its reduction owing to premature payment. As to using the capital, whether it be money or other subjects, it cannot be aloof separately from the subject and consequently any sale on credit is usury.

In scholastic motivation the main reason of prohibition of sale on credit lay even more deeply. It stood in connection with the general prohibition of a loan under the percent, leaning against the doctrine about futility of money. Having acquired Aristotle’s sight on which money is only a criterion of value and the loan is considered mainly from the point of view of transfer and returning of money, the scholasticism with Thomas Aquinas at the head has developed curious, though also absolutely false doctrine about impossibility of a percentage loan. The essence of this doctrine is reduced to thought that subject transfer by one person to another informs the last the property of a thing and the new proprietor thereby gets using. Raises special compensation for using the known sum of money would be to equivalently double sale of the same subject. The one who has sold a wine bottle, cannot besides, raise compensation for the right to drink this wine.

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