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[918c] less respectable trades,—all have this function, namely, to provide all men with full satisfaction of their needs and with evenness in their properties.1 Let us see then wherein trade is reputed to be a thing not noble nor even respectable, and what has caused it to be disparaged, in order that we may remedy by law parts of it at least, if not the whole. This is an undertaking, it would seem, of no slight importance, and one that calls for no little virtue.

How do you mean?

My dear Clinias, small is the class of men—rare by nature and trained, too, with a superlative training—who, when they fall into diverse needs and lusts,

1 i.e. by equalizing the distribution of goods throughout the community. Cp. Aristot. Pol. 1257a 14 ff.

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