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Plato in the Laws 1 forbids people to take any water from a neighbour's land unless they have dug on their own land down to a layer of potter's clay, as it is called, and found that the place will not produce a flow of water ; for the potter's clay, being by nature oily and solid, holds back the water that reaches it and does not let it through ; but, he says, those shall have a share of others' water who cannot get any of their own, for the law gives relief to those in want. Ought there not, then, to be a law about money also, that people shall not borrow from others or resort to other people's springs who have not first examined their resources at home and brought together, as from little trickles, what is useful and necessary to themselves ? But now, because of their luxury and effeminacy or their extravagance, they make no use of what is their own, though they possess it, but take from others at a high rate of interest, though they have no need of doing so. There is strong evidence of this : loans are not made to people in need, but to those who wish to acquire some superfluity for themselves. And a man produces a witness and a surety to aver that, [p. 319] since the man has property, he deserves credit, whereas, since he has it, he ought not to be borrowing.

1 Plato, Laws, 844 b.

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