Industry and The Various Occupations

Aristotle and Plato Theories

Industry and the Various Occupations

Like the Oriental lawgivers, Athenian philosophers favored some branches of in­dustry and regarded others with disapprobation. Agriculture was considered most desirable. "But strictly speaking," writes Aristotle, "... the means of life must be provided beforehand by nature; for the business of nature is to furnish food to that which is born, and the food of the offspring always remains over in the parent. Wherefore, the art of making money out of fruits and animals is always natural." Husbandry and stock-raising were the natural or proper arts. Exchange, including commerce, usury, and services for hire, were not natural. Mining and lum­bering lay midway between Plato thought that the precious metals ought not to be allowed in his state, "nor much of the vulgar sort of trade which is car­ried on by lending money, or rearing the meaner kinds of live­stock; but only the produce of agriculture, and only so much of this as will not compel us in pursuing it to neglect that for the sake of which riches exist, — I mean, soul and body."