History. Economic thought of the middle Ages


2018-04-01 20:05:19




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The Formation of feudalism had each country has its own peculiarities. A common feature was the seizure of communal lands and the establishment of the estates belonging to noble lords. Was the consolidation of private land ownership, and workers-serfs who were, besides their land, cultivate the land Lord. Economic thought of the middle Ages developed, in contrast to Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire, with great difficulty. This is the explanation – the successor of the ideas of Greek and Roman philosophy, Economics was the Catholic Church.

economic thought of the middle ages

Formation of the economic thought in the middle ages

Presentation about the economic thought of the middle Ages have come down to us through written sources. They are based on the works of thinkers of the Ancient world. To better understand the process of origin and development of economic thought in the middle ages, you need to consider the political and economic condition of the state.

The notion of “economic thought” includes a wide range of views and opinions. These include representation of ordinary citizens, religious view with its impact on economic relations, work of the outstanding scientists of that time and the political, the economic laws of the ruling elite. To understand how to create economic thought in the middle ages, one must start with the Ancient world, as these era are inextricably linked. Historians regard the economic thought of the middle Ages as part of theology, as along with the nobility, the clergy ruled the government and the relations inside the society.


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Ancient world

Technical equipment of primitive society was primitive and so low that people are not always able to feed themselves and their family members. People were forced to live in the community, as one family not in a condition were to exist. To talk about economic thought in this period of development of society does not make sense, because there is only one thought-to survive. The economic thought of the Ancient world and the middle Ages began to emerge at the intersection of these historical eras, during the birth of classes and the formation of States.

the economic thought of the middle ages briefly

Emergence of classes

After the introduction of iron and the appearance of tools of productivity of labour has increased several times, there was a surplus, what is called the surplus product that people could use at their discretion. It iron tools led to the emergence of artisans who are not treated with the ground and do not sow bread, but have always had it.

Artisans produced goods, application of which allowed farmers to collect higher yields and improve the quality of life. Began to appear in the trade relationship. In addition to artisans, there were people who were engaged in science, art. In short, the economic thought of the Ancient world and the middle Ages was born in a time when the total subsistence economy began to appear commodity-money relations.

There was a division of society into classes, there are rich and poor who wanted to get even more goods, products. They had to take off the excess. This should have been a mechanism of violence. Began to emerge the state.

the economic thought of the middle ages Thomas Aquinas

The Emergence of the first States

The Stratification of society into classes, the appearance of the nobility, the expansion of the community led to the formation of States. Occurred the emergence of various forms of ownership: community, public and private. That is what makes a person think, to compare, to analyze what resulted in judgments that became the basis of economic thought of the middle Ages. A characteristic feature of the ancient States was slavery. The emergence of early civilizations and the emergence of the first States occurred in areas with a hot climate, mainly in areas with fertile soil and water. It was the river valleys: the Nile, the Tigris and the Euphrates, the Ganges.

Monuments of ancient economic thought

Until our time has come the ancient Egyptian documents: “Teaching herakleopolis the king to his son Merikare" (XXII century BC), the ‘Verse Ipuser” (XVIII century BC), Code of laws Babylon (eighteenth century BC). Here, considering the configuration and control of the state, usury, property rights protection, bribery, corruption, the causes of the reduction of tax revenues to the Treasury, the rules of leasing and rental, etc.

the economic thought of the Muslim world

Economic thought of ancient China

Confucius-Chinese philosopher, who lived in 551-479 BC said, only calm and hard work brings wealth to the inhabitants of the state, and the prosperity of the ruler and the country. Work should be supported by family and community. The thinker gave the latter great value. He believed the Foundation of a stable political system is a Patriarchal family. The main task of the ruling elite – the prosperity of the population, the distribution of agricultural works, a reasonable limit taxes. A greater role was given to the nobility, and believed that the state should take care of her.

The collective Authors of the treatise “Guan-PS" (IV-III century BC) to wealth ranked all material goods.Gold as a measure of wealth, took on the role of money. The important thing for the prosperity of the country – labor and the peace of mind to produce the products. For this the government needs to regulate the price of bread. For its development needs to have sufficient stocks of grain, to give farmers soft loans at low interest rates.

the economic thought of antiquity and the middle ages


In a nutshell, the economic thought of the middle Ages used the basic principles of the ancient philosophers, particularly the ancient. In the days of the slave system, as in subsequent forms of the States, there were two major Ekonomicheskie goal-to collect as many taxes and the fight against plunderers of the Treasury (embezzlers). There were such things as money, a commodity, the use of moral and material incentives to increase productivity of slave labor. The great interest of philosophers called the state, his office.

Along with the existing community property having private and public. Changed public relations. The economic thought of Antiquity and the middle Ages are closely related, since many of the economic laws and concepts of Ancient Greece were used by the Catholic Church and its thinkers.

Xenophon (430-354 BC)

The Founder of ancient economic thought was Xenophon, who in his treatise «Domostroi» first used the term “savings”. He meant the science of the household. Thinker studied the division of labor, described two characteristics of goods, from the point of view of consumer and exchange value. Identified two functions of money-means of accumulation and circulation.

Plato (428-347 BC)

In his work “State” Plato described the ideal project structure of the country in which an important role was given to the aristocrats and the military. They are, without ownership, are on welfare, where it belongs. Philosopher critical of private property, which, in his opinion, should be set to the maximum allowed. All profit above this, is confiscated in favor of the state. The most important industry-agriculture.

Aristotle (384 322 BC)

In his two major works “Policy” and “Nicomachean ethics" describes the device of an ideal state. Its goal is the common good of the residents. He has a positive attitude to slavery by defining slaves as an instrument of labor. Society, in his opinion, it should be divided into slaves and free citizens. Labor-mental and physical. Every class uses certain methods of farming, using their own savings.

Economic activities considered are agriculture, craft and small trade. They are seen as objects of state care. Wealth is acquired in two ways: natural activities (economic) and unnatural (chrematistics). Usury and large-scale trade related to chrematistike.

the economic thought of the European middle ages

Middle Ages

The middle Ages were characterized by a large influence of the Church on the state. Aristotle's ideas concerning the economy were put into the rigid framework of dogmas. The laws of the Church were called canons, by which is expressed the medieval economic thought. Philosophical reflections on the economy was replaced by theological and canonical claims that did not require evidence and interpretation. This concerned both the European and Asian countries dominated by Islam.

European middle ages

A Significant feature of the middle Ages – the dominance of the Church in the management of the feudal States of Europe and their economic life. Despite the Church's conservatism, negative attitude to everything new, that theologians have advanced the exercises, which reflect major episodes of economic life: the relationship between subjects, their driving forces, highlights the creation and distribution of wealth.

the economic thought of the ancient world and middle ages

Thomas Aquinas

The Important author of economic thought of the middle Ages - Thomas Aquinas (XIII century). He was an Italian monk. His treatise ‘the Sum of theologies" is a one - of-a-kind work in which all economic categories of the middle ages this assessment - moral and ethical. He entered the school of canonists founded by Augustine in the fifth century.

Early canonists were opposed to profits and usurious interest, considering it a sin, as a result of the appropriation of the labor of others. They were for the fixing of fair prices. Opposed to trade in large volumes. Negative attitude to the loan.

Methodological guidelines for them were texts of Scripture. They treated economic characteristics from the point of view of moral-ethical norms. These principles later canonists, who were treated F. Aquinas, he added the principle of duality estimates. Briefly, the economic thought of the middle ages can be formulated:

  • Division of labor, in their understanding, divine Providence, through which came the class division and the human propensity to a particular profession.
  • Fair prices, as they were understood by the representative of the economic thought of the European middle ages Aquinas F., – the prices established by the feudal nobility to subordinatethe territory. This dogma had replaced the concept of the market price.
  • Wealth, from the point of view of the early canonists, is a sin, but F. Aquinas argues that under the action of "fair price" perhaps the accumulation of moderate wealth that is not a sin.
  • Trading profit and usurious interest, reject the early canonists, F. condemning Aquinas accepts, but on condition that the proceeds were not ends in themselves, but were in the form of well-deserved payment for costs, where involved risks.
  • Does Not recognize the money from the point of view of obtaining usurious interest, but recognized as a medium of exchange and measure of value.

representative economic thought European srednevekovja

The Muslim middle Ages

The Feudal state had originated in the East (III-VIII centuries), their appearance in Western Europe occurred two centuries later (V-IX centuries). The power in the States of the middle Ages was concentrated in the hands of feudal lords and the clergy. They condemned usury and economic marketability. A significant representative of the economic thought of the Muslim of the middle Ages I think Ibn-Khaldun (XIV century), who lived in the Maghreb in North Africa. From the VII century there is a proliferation of Islam. As well as in European countries, the clergy along with the nobility took an active part in the life of the Muslim countries and influenced their economic development.

For a number of specific features of economic thought of the European middle Ages differed from the Asian. This is due to the fact that trade in Asia has always been treated with respect and believed that this activity is pleasing to God. Even the prophet Muhammad initially engaged in this activity. The government has reserved significant areas of land, collecting burdensome taxes.

Ibn Khaldun thought that the heyday of all kinds of economic activities will lead to the flourishing of the state. His attitude toward the tax was that he believed that the less taxes, the state will be prosperous. The money he treated with respect and believed that this is a very important element of life. They must be exclusively of gold and silver. But the most important thing in the teachings is his assertion that the evolution of society must come from primitiveness to civilization.

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Alin Trodden - author of the article, editor
"Hi, I'm Alin Trodden. I write texts, read books, and look for impressions. And I'm not bad at telling you about it. I am always happy to participate in interesting projects."

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