previous next
[371a] from whom they procure what they themselves require, he will come back with empty hands, will he not?” “I think so.” “Then their home production must not merely suffice for themselves but in quality and quantity meet the needs of those of whom they have need.” “It must.” “So our city will require more farmers and other craftsmen.” “Yes, more.” “And also of other ministrants who are to export and import the merchandise. These are traders, are they not? “ “Yes.” “We shall also need traders, then.” “Assuredly.” “And if the trading is carried on by sea, [371b] we shall need quite a number of others who are expert in maritime business.” “Quite a number.”

“But again, within the city itself how will they share with one another the products of their labor? This was the very purpose of our association and establishment of a state.” “Obviously,” he said, “by buying and selling.” “A market-place, then, and money as a token1 for the purpose of exchange will be the result of this.” [371c] “By all means.” “If, then, the farmer or any other craftsman taking his products to the market-place does not arrive at the same time with those who desire to exchange with him, is he to sit idle in the market-place and lose time from his own work?” “By no means,” he said, “but there are men who see this need and appoint themselves for this service—in well-conducted cities they are generally those who are weakest2 in body and those who are useless for any other task. They must wait there in the agora [371d] and exchange money for goods with those who wish to sell, and goods for money with as many as desire to buy.” “This need, then,” said I, “creates the class of shopkeepers in our city. Or is not shopkeepers the name we give to those who, planted in the agora, serve us in buying and selling, while we call those who roam from city to city merchants?” “Certainly.” “And there are, furthermore, I believe, other servitors who in the things of the mind [371e] are not altogether worthy of our fellowship, but whose strength of body is sufficient for toil; so they, selling the use of this strength and calling the price wages, are designated, I believe, wage-earners, are they not?” “Certainly.” “Wage-earners, then, it seems, are the complement that helps to fill up the state.”3“I think so.” “Has our city, then, Adeimantus, reached its full growth and is it complete?” “Perhaps.” “Where, then, can justice and injustice be found in it? And along with which of the constituents that we have considered does it come into the state?”

1 Aristotle ads that the medium of exchange must of itself have value (Politics 1257 a 36).

2 Similarly in Laws 918-920.

3 Aristotle(Politics 1254 b 18) says that those, the use of whose bodies is the best they have to offer, are by nature slaves. Cf Jesus of Sirach xxxviii. 36ἄνευ αὐτῶν οὐκ οἰκισθήσεται πόλις. So Carlyle, and Shakespeare on Caliban: “We cannot miss him” (Tempest, I. ii).

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Notes (James Adam)
load focus Greek (1903)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
1257 AD (1)
1254 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: