Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts
wealth, exchange, economy, money, philosophy
Since the introduction of Adam Smith’s treatises on the mechanisms involved in the market economy, the field of economics has been categorized as a social science; a subject that could be analyzed and studied through the use of scientific methods in order to achieve a better understanding of exchange and wealth. The immense influence on economic thought caused by The Wealth of Nations granted mankind the license to compartmentalize his desires and interests. Yet, the perhaps fatal flaw in this turn in logic is the sequestering of economics away from an ethical standpoint. For Adam Smith was not a professor of economics, but of moral philosophy (as economics was commonly named at the time). The importance of the interplay between the ethical components inherently linked with moneyed exchanged, and the scientific models produced to create a more logical understanding of this sphere of society, has largely withered in the modern industrial era. It is this dichotomy in economic thought between the purely philosophical theory and the sometimes-harsh political reality that is the focus of this study, and this difference in analysis is exemplified in our two authors of interest, Aristotle and Thucydides. The philosopher and the historian composed their respective works at opposite ends of the Grecian intellectual spectrum, but it precisely this difference in thought process provides the most compelling analysis and evidence for this study. While Aristotle submits theoretical economic and ethical models of existence, the historiographical text of Thucydides provides a sociopolitical reality upon which to overlay these theories and to decipher where they apply, where they do not, and why in each case.
Dammann, Joseph, "Aristotle and Thucydides on Wealth Exchange and Acquisition" (2012). Honors Theses. 795.