Moral Reflection in the Ancient Mediterranean World

James Halteman and Edd Noell

in Reckoning with Markets

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780199763702
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199932252 | DOI:
Moral Reflection in the Ancient Mediterranean World

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After considering why modern economists pay little attention to ancient thinkers, the chapter explores the views of Aristotle with particular attention to his views on the moral life. Aristotle’s view of happiness focuses on what is really good for people rather than what is desired at any given time. Morality for Aristotle was not religious. His views on social organization, exchange and pricing, money and interest, and all other economic matters focused on justice and true happiness. Hesiod’s portrayal of the common person is then contrasted with Aristotle’s idealized vision. The chapter also describes the contribution of the Hebrews and some of the biblical teaching on economic relationships as well as the Stoic philosophy that caught the attention of Adam Smith many centuries later. The vignette at the end of the chapter is titled “Aristotle and the Purpose of Life.”

Keywords: aristotle; happiness; hesiod; biblical literature; stoics

Chapter.  6997 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Financial Markets

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