Download PDF by Murray N. Rothbard: An Austrian Perspective on the History of Economic Thought:

By Murray N. Rothbard

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The Church Fathers railed against mercantile activities as necessarily stamped with the sin of greed, and as almost always accompanied by deceit and fraud. Leading the parade was the mystical and apocalyptic Tertullian (160-240), a prominent Carthaginian lawyer who converted late in life to Christianity and eventually formed his own heretical sect. To Tertullian, attack on merchants and money-making was part and parcel of a general philippic against the secular world, which he expected at any moment to founder on the shoals of excess population, so that the earth would soon suffer from 'epidemics, famines, wars, and the earth's opening to swallow whole cities' as a grisly solution to the overpopulation problem.

To impose communal property on society would be to disregard the record of human experience, and to leap into the new and untried. Abolishing private property would probably create more problems than it would solve. g. to practise the virtues of benevolence and philanthropy. The compulsion of communal property would destroy that opportunity. While Aristotle was critical of money-making, he still opposed any limitation - such as Plato had advocated - on an individual's accumulation of private property.

The compulsion of communal property would destroy that opportunity. While Aristotle was critical of money-making, he still opposed any limitation - such as Plato had advocated - on an individual's accumulation of private property. Instead, education should teach people voluntarily to curb their rampant desires and thus lead them to limit their own accumulations of wealth. Despite his cogent defence of private property and opposition to coerced limits on wealth, the aristocrat Aristotle was fully as scornful of labour and trade as his predecessors.

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An Austrian Perspective on the History of Economic Thought: Volume I: Economic Thought Before Adam Smith by Murray N. Rothbard


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