Chrematistics

Plato (left) and Aristotle (right)

Chrematistics (from Greek: χρηματιστική), or the study of wealth or a particular theory of wealth as measured in money, has historically had varying levels of acceptability in Western culture. This article will summarize historical trends.

Ancient Greece

Aristotle established a difference between economics and chrematistics that would be foundational in medieval thought.[1] For Aristotle, the accumulation of money itself is an unnatural activity that dehumanizes those who practice it. Trade Exchanges, money for goods, and usury creates money from money, but do not produce useful goods. Hence, Aristotle, like Plato,[citation needed] condemns these actions from the standpoint of their philosophical ethics.[2]

According to Aristotle, the "necessary" chrematistic economy is licit if the sale of goods is made directly between the producer and buyer at the right price; it does not generate a value-added product. By contrast, it is illicit if the producer purchases for resale to consumers for a higher price, generating added value. The money must be only a medium of exchange and measure of value.[3]

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