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[1318a] [1] and if any life-office has been left after an ancient revolution, at all events to deprive it of its power and to substitute election by lot for election by vote.

These1 then are the features common to democracies. But what is thought to be the extreme form of democracy and of popular government comes about as a result of the principle of justice that is admitted to be democratic, and this is for all to have equality according to number. For it is equality for the poor to have no larger share of power than the rich, and not for the poor alone to be supreme but for all to govern equally; for in this way they would feel that the constitution possessed both equality and liberty. But the question follows, how will they have equality? are the property-assessments of five hundred citizens to be divided among a thousand and the thousand to have equal power to the five hundred2? or is equality on this principle3 not to be arranged in this manner, but the division into classes to be on this system, but then an equal number to be taken from the five hundred and from the thousand and these to control the elections and the law-courts? Is this then the justest form of constitution in accordance with popular justice, or is it rather one that goes by counting heads?4 For democrats say that justice is whatever seems good to the larger number, [20] but advocates of oligarchy think that it is whatever seems good to the owners of the larger amount of property, for they say that the decision ought to go by amount of property. But both views involve inequality and injustice; for if the will of the few is to prevail, this means a tyranny, since if one man owns more than the other rich men,5 according to the oligarchic principle of justice it is just for him to rule alone; whereas if the will of the numerical majority is to prevail, they will do injustice by confiscating the property of the rich minority, as has been said before.6 What form of equality therefore would be one on which both parties will agree must be considered in the light of the principles of justice as defined by both sets. For they say that whatever seems good to the majority of the citizens ought to be sovereign. Let us then accept this principle, yet not wholly without qualification, but inasmuch as fortune has brought into existence two component parts of the state, rich and poor, let any resolution passed by both classes, or by a majority of each, be sovereign, but if the two classes carry opposite resolutions, let the decision of the majority, in the sense of the group whose total property assessment is the larger, prevail: for instance, if there are ten rich citizens and twenty poor ones, and opposite votes have been cast by six of the rich on one side and by fifteen of the less wealthy on the other, four of the rich have sided with the poor and five of the poor with the rich; then the side that has the larger total property when the assessments of both classes on either side are added together carries the voting.7 But if the totals fall out exactly equal, this is to be deemed an impasse common to both sides, as it is at present if the assembly or law-court is exactly divided;

1 The rest of the chapter is most obscure, and its authenticity is questioned.

2 i.e. two groups of voters, with equal total wealth and total voting-power, but one group twice as numerous as the other, so that a man in the rich group has two votes and one in the poor group one, the former being on the average twice as rich as the latter.

3 i.e. ‘equality in proportion to number.’

4 i.e. ‘one man one vote.’

5 i.e. apparently, more than the property of all the others put together.

6 1281a 14.

7 If the rich citizens are on the average twice as wealthy as the poor (1.11), and therefore a rich man has two votes to a poor man's one, when 6 rich and 5 poor vote one way, and 15 poor and 4 rich the other, the division is 17 to 23, and the view of the latter party, which is carried, represents a larger total of wealth but a larger proportion of poor men.

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