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[1308b] [1] and three years or five years ago in the larger states, and if the new total is many times larger or many times smaller than the former one at the time when the rates qualifying for citizenship were fixed, it is advantageous that there should be a law for the magistrates correspondingly to tighten up or to relax the rates, tightening them up in proportion to the ratio of increase if the new total rated value exceeds the old, and relaxing them and making the qualification lower if the new total falls below the old. For in oligarchies and constitutional states, when they do not do this, in the one case1 the result is that in the latter an oligarchy comes into existence and in the former a dynasty, and in the other case2 a constitutional government turns into a democracy and an oligarchy into a constitutional government or a government of the people. But it is a policy common to democracy and oligarchy [and to monarchy],3 and every form of constitution not to raise up any man too much beyond due proportion, but rather to try to assign small honors and of long tenure or great ones quickly4 (for officials grow corrupt, and not every man can bear good fortune), or if not, at all events not to bestow honors in clusters and take them away again in clusters, but by a gradual process; and best of all to try so to regulate people by the law that there may be nobody among them specially pre-eminent in power due to friends or wealth, or, failing this, to cause their periods out of office to be spent abroad. [20] And since men also cause revolutions through their private lives, some magistracy must be set up to inspect those whose mode of living is unsuited to the constitution—unsuited to democracy in a democracy, to oligarchy in an oligarchy, and similarly for each of the other forms of constitution. And also sectional prosperity in the state must be guarded against for the same reasons; and the way to avert this is always to entrust business and office to the opposite sections (I mean that the respectable are opposite to the multitude and the poor to the wealthy), and to endeavor either to mingle together the multitude of the poor and that of the wealthy or to increase the middle class (for this dissolves party factions due to inequality). And in every form of constitution it is a very great thing for it to be so framed both by its laws and by its other institutions that it is impossible for the magistracies to make a profit. And this has most to be guarded against in oligarchies; for the many are not so much annoyed at being excluded from holding office (but in fact they are glad if somebody lets them have leisure to spend on their own affairs) as they are if they think that the magistrates are stealing the common funds, but then both things annoy them, exclusion from the honors of office and exclusion from its profits. And indeed the sole way in which a combination of democracy and aristocracy is possible is if someone could contrive this arrangement5;

1 i.e. if the total valuation has decreased.

2 i.e. if the total has increased.

3 Some MSS. and many editors omit these words.

4 The text should probably be emended ‘with a short tenure.’

5 i.e. render it impossible to make money out of office

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