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[1257b] [1] So when currency had been now invented as an outcome of the necessary interchange of goods, there came into existence the other form of wealth-getting, trade, which at first no doubt went on in a simple form, but later became more highly organized as experience discovered the sources and methods of exchange that would cause most profit. Hence arises the idea that the art of wealth-getting deals specially with money, and that its function is to be able to discern from what source a large supply can be procured, as this art is supposed to be creative of riches and wealth; indeed riches are often assumed to consist of a quantity of money, because money is the thing with which the art of business and of trade deals. But at other times, on the contrary, it is thought that money is nonsense, and nothing by nature but entirely a convention, because when those who use it have changed the currency it is worth nothing, and because it is of no use for any of the necessary needs of life and a man well supplied with money may often1 be destitute of the bare necessities of subsistence, yet it is anomalous that wealth should be of such a kind that a man may be well supplied with it and yet die of hunger, like the famous Midas in the legend, when owing to the insatiable covetousness of his prayer all the viands served up to him turned into gold. Hence people seek for a different definition of riches and the art of getting wealth, and rightly; for natural wealth-getting and natural riches are different: [20] natural wealth-getting belongs to household management, whereas the other kind belongs to trade, producing goods not in every way but only by the method of exchanging goods. It is this art of wealth-getting that is thought to be concerned with money, for money is the first principle and limit of commerce. And these riches, that are derived from this art of wealth-getting, are truly unlimited2; for just as the art of medicine is without limit in respect of health, and each of the arts is without limit in respect of its end (for they desire to produce that in the highest degree possible), whereas they are not without limit as regards the means to their end (for with all of them the end is a limit to the means), so also this wealth-getting has no limit in respect of its end, and its end is riches and the acquisition of goods in the commercial sense. But the household branch of wealth-getting has a limit, since the acquisition of commercial riches is not the function of household management. Hence from this point of view it appears necessary that there should be a limit to all riches, yet in actual fact we observe that the opposite takes place; for all men engaged in wealth-getting try to increase their money to an unlimited amount. The reason of this is the close affinity of the two branches of the art of business. Their common ground is that the thing that each makes use of is the same; they use the same property, although not in the same way—the one has another end in view, the aim of the other is the increase of the property. Consequently some people suppose that it is the function of household management to increase property, and they are continually under the idea that it is their duty to be either safeguarding their substance in money or increasing it to an unlimited amount. The cause of this state of mind is that their interests are set upon life but not upon the good life;

1 e.g. on a desert island.

2 i.e. a trader cannot get too much of his goods, any more than a doctor can make his patient too healthy.

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