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[1257a] [1] Owing to its affinity to the art of acquisition of which we spoke, it is supposed by many people to be one and the same as that; and as a matter of fact, while it is not the same as the acquisition spoken of, it is not far removed from it. One of them is natural, the other is not natural, but carried on rather by means of a certain acquired skill or art. We may take our starting-point for its study from the following consideration: with every article of property there is a double way of using it; both uses are related to the article itself, but not related to it in the same manner—one is peculiar to the thing and the other is not peculiar to it. Take for example a shoe—there is its wear as a shoe and there is its use as an article of exchange; for both are ways of using a shoe, inasmuch as even he that barters a shoe for money or food with the customer that wants a shoe uses it as a shoe, though not for the use peculiar to a shoe, since shoes have not come into existence for the purpose of barter. And the same also holds good about the other articles of property; for all of them have an art of exchange related to them, which began in the first instance from the natural order of things, because men had more than enough of some things and less than enough of others. This consideration also shows that the art of trade is not by nature a part of the art of wealth-getting1; for the practice of barter was necessary only so far as to satisfy men's own needs. In the primary [20] association therefore (I mean the household) there is no function for trade, but it only arises after the association has become more numerous. For the members of the primitive household used to share commodities that were all their own, whereas on the contrary a group divided into several households participated also in a number of commodities belonging to their neighbors, according to their needs for which they were forced to make their interchanges by way of barter, as also many barbarian tribes do still; for such tribes do not go beyond exchanging actual commodities for actual commodities, for example giving and taking wine for corn, and so with the various other things of the sort. Exchange on these lines therefore is not contrary to nature, nor is it any branch of the art of wealth-getting, for it existed for the replenishment of natural self-sufficiency; yet out of it the art of business in due course arose. For when they had come to supply themselves more from abroad by importing things in which they were deficient and exporting those of which they had a surplus, the employment of money necessarily came to be devised. For the natural necessaries are not in every case readily portable; hence for the purpose of barter men made a mutual compact to give and accept some substance of such a sort as being itself a useful commodity was easy to handle in use for general life, iron for instance, silver and other metals, at the first stage defined merely by size and weight, but finally also by impressing on it a stamp in order that this might relieve them of having to measure it; for the stamp was put on as a token of the amount.

1 Perhaps Aristotle wrote ‘of the art of exchange’: Bernays suggests μεταβλητικῆς for χρηματιστικῆς.

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