La riqueza de las ideas. Una historia del pensamiento económico (Spanish Edition)


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They were not, I suggest, evasive devices that each Jewish or Moorish money-lender Edition: current; Page: [ 34 ] thought up for himself, but, on the contrary, the time-honored contracts used by Jews and Moors, with the hard-won approval of their religious leaders, in order to circumvent the Jewish and Islamic prohibition of usury. Among Jews and Moslems such contracts had long since become a matter of business routine, and they were ready to hand when, from the twelfth century onward, an increasingly determined attempt was made to repress usury in the Christian community.

A series of mozarab documents from Toledo, dating from the second half of the thirteenth century, show that the Toledan Jews of this period were making use of various evasive devices in their dealings with Christian borrowers. It is well known that in the course of the Middle Ages a growing class of Christian financiers took over to some extent the functions of the Jews.

Many of these were New Christians, Jews who had accepted baptism in order to escape the persecution that darkened the life of Spanish Jewry in the closing centuries of the reconquest. These New Christians did not desert their old professions but carried on their work as counsellors, doctors, ambassadors, tax-collectors, bankers, shopkeepers, and artisans. In due course the descendants of rabbis became monks and friars, bishops and cardinals and even inquisitors. We cannot doubt that other converts did the same. It may be asked why I seem to lay more stress on the Jewish than on the Moorish use of contracts that were common to the law of both religions.

The Castilian legal texts do indeed allude repeatedly to the evil devices of both Jews and Moslems in evasion of the Christian laws that regulated usury, and we may suppose that Moorish as well as Jewish money-lenders made use of the classic devices. But there is a good reason for attributing the survival of the evasive Edition: current; Page: [ 35 ] devices in Castile primarily to Jewish influence. As the reconquest progressed, and one Andalusian city after another was won for the Crown of Castile, the Moors were expelled in great numbers, first from the towns and later from the countryside, whence they emigrated to Africa and to the Moorish kingdom of Granada.

Even so, by the middle of the fifteenth century the Moorish community still probably amounted to about a tenth of the population and was larger than the Jewish and ex-Jewish elements together. But it was nothing like as rich and powerful, and played a steadily declining part in the business life of Castile. In the fifteenth century the rigidity of the usury laws was somewhat modified. True, in , King John II of Castile issued a decree enjoining the justices to enforce the regulations. But four years later, at the request of the Cortes, he dispensed the Jews from observing the absolute prohibition of usury, while limiting the rate to 25 percent.

Another petition of the Cortes, made to Henry IV of Castile in , pointed out the injustice of the existing laws that forbade the Jews to enter into any form of contract, whether usurious or not. Mindful, no doubt, of the simultaneous decline in Jewish fortunes and in the Crown revenues, the king agreed to allow the Jews to contract freely, provided their dealings were neither usurious nor in evasion of usury.

In we find the Catholic kings confirming the usury laws directed against Christian lenders:. We decree that any Christian who lends at usury or enters into any contract to conceal it should incur the prescribed penalties. In came the fateful decision to expel from Castile and Aragon all Jews who refused baptism. Henceforth the usury laws could apply only to Christians and, for a few years longer, to Moslems, until they too were offered the choice between exile and conversion.

After the Castilian and Aragonese monarchs no longer ruled over men of different faiths. In name, if not always at heart, their subjects were all Catholics. The Aragonese princes were even slower than those of Castile in adopting measures prejudicial to the interests of their Jewish subjects. In a statute of James I of Aragon limits usury on loans made by Jews and Moors to 20 percent a year, and on those made by Christians to 12 percent. At first the loan-contract was supposed to state the principal and interest separately, but from onwards the same king on various occasions permitted the Jews of certain towns to lump the two items together.

This concession was to the advantage of the money-lender, since it enabled him to charge interest on the interest due during any period when the loan was in default, as well as on the principal. As in Castile, the punishment at this period for infringing the regulations was mild: the offending money-lender merely forfeited the usury, and in grave cases the principal also. Money forfeited by usurers was an important source of revenue to the Crown; when James II granted pardons for exceeding the maximum legal rate to the Jews of Lerida, Saragossa, Valencia, Gerona, Majorca, and other places, the measure brought him in the tidy sum of , shillings.

Research has disclosed much interesting information about the practice of usury among the Jews of Perpignan in the thirteenth century. Money-lending seems to have been the chief occupation of the Perpignan Jews. Those most active in the business were the leading members of the community.

The fact that rabbis, scholars, and poets were eager to invest their money in this way accords with talmudic doctrine, which, as we have seen, recommends money-lending as especially appropriate for such persons, since they are less likely than the common run of mortals to be corrupted by the contact with Gentiles that is unavoidable in these activities. The Perpignan Jew travelled regularly through the countryside, making the greater number of his loans to villagers.

Then came loans to townsmen, knights and nobles, the clergy, and the royal officers. The word usura occurs in hundreds of documents recording loans made by Jews for whom it clearly carried no moral slur. The Perpignan Edition: current; Page: [ 37 ] registers also contain many loan-contracts between Christians, but they never mention usura, although such charges were certainly hidden in their terms.

Toward the end of the thirteenth century, in Aragon as in other parts of western Christendom, an increasingly bitter conflict arose between civil and religious authorities over this matter of usury. James I of Aragon had issued repeated orders to his officials to enforce the loan-contracts entered into by Christian debtors, provided their terms accorded with the legal limits.

But by , if not before, Christians were citing Jewish creditors before the ecclesiastical courts for the very practices permitted by the king. In that year the Aragonese monarch ordered his officers in the Rousillon to collect substantial fines from any Christian layman who presumed to cite a Jew before a church court, provided only that the Jew stood ready to answer the charge before a royal tribunal.

If a cleric should do so, the royal officers were to prevent other Christians from trading with the plaintiff, lending him money, lodging him in their houses, working his land, or aiding him in any other way.


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Even in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries the Aragonese kings were still far from desiring the impoverishment of their Jewish subjects. They were well aware that the hard-working Jewish communities were their main source of wealth. Yet it would seem that the prudent policy of the Aragonese Crown toward its Jews, which combined royal protection with moderate exploitation, was unable to arrest the decay in Jewish prosperity that marked the later Middle Ages in Aragon. Toward the end of the Edition: current; Page: [ 38 ] fourteenth century an economic and financial crisis, whose causes have not yet been fully elucidated but for which the ravages of the Black Death would seem to offer a sufficient explanation, sowed ruin throughout the kingdom.

Popular anger was, as usual, vented on the Jews, and culminated in the massacres of The failure of many Jewish bankers forced the Aragonese kings to place the credit of the Crown in the hands of Italian financiers and of the New Christians of Jewish origin whose numbers increased so greatly during this period. An important instrument of State and personal credit in Aragon was the census or rent-charge. The contract is unknown to Roman law and seems to have arisen in various parts of Europe in the course of the twelfth century, perhaps, as Noonan seems to think, in answer to the increasingly strict control of usury.

It will be recalled that among the Jewish evasionary devices mentioned in the Talmud is the enjoyment by the money-lender of the fruits of property given in pledge for a loan or sold with the right of redemption. This lends a certain color to the hypothesis that the census originated as a Jewish evasionary device. The census is, in essence, an obligation to pay an annual return from fruitful property. For example, a farmer might sell for ready cash the right to certain produce for so many years to come.

Landowners found the sale of census on their property a convenient way of raising money, and kings financed themselves by the sale of census on their lands, monopolies, and tax receipts. The census instalments were sometimes paid in cash instead of in kind, and the transaction then became the sale of a right to money secured on property. Great attention was paid to the census contract by the theologians of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, and there was much doubt and controversy as to whether it was licit. An effort was made to keep loan-theory and census -theory apart, and we generally find the census discussed under the heading of sale and the just price.

As time went on, ever finer distinctions were drawn between the various types of census, some being generally approved and others such as the personal census by which a man sold his future labor for ready cash universally condemned. On the whole, the real census on fruitful Edition: current; Page: [ 39 ] property was held to be lawful, despite the difficulty of distinguishing between this type of contract and a loan.

Aragonese practice played a significant part in the later development of census -doctrine. In answer to this plea, the pope determined that in Aragon and Sicily at this date among the possessions of the Aragonese Crown such census -contracts as the king described were licit, provided they paid not more than 10 percent. The greater commercial experience of the Aragonese, and their more advanced banking system, which in some places dated back to the early Middle Ages, helped to provide credit, and perhaps to protect them from the more rapacious demands of the private money-lender.

The year , which saw the marriage of Ferdinand, heir to the throne of Aragon, and Isabella, heiress to that of Castile, may conveniently be taken as marking the end of the Middle Ages in Spain. The union of the two young people, who in and assumed their crowns, announced the opening of a new era. True, we cannot yet speak of a united Spain. The two kingdoms were to retain their separate parliaments, laws, and systems of taxation until the time of the Bourbons.

The last decades of the fifteenth century brought a series of great achievements and innovations that combined to make that concept a reality. The conquest of Granada severed the last political link with the Maghreb, and the imposition of religious unity throughout Castile Edition: current; Page: [ 40 ] and Aragon confirmed the place of Spain among the kingdoms of the Catholic West. The voyages of discovery and the winning of a vast colonial empire, the final union of the Crowns of Castile and Aragon under Charles I, and the coming of the new and foreign dynasty of Habsburg, were further steps that helped to bring Spain into the modern world and transform her into a great European power.

And yet, running through the new Spain like veins in marble, the traces of her multi-racial, religious, linguistic, and cultural past were not to be effaced. Even today they are clear enough, in many branches of the national life. How much more evident must they have been in the sixteenth century! Their survival is of greater importance for the history of economic doctrine than may appear at first sight.

Thus, the old game of handball that had for long centuries been carried on between rabbis, kadis, priests, and merchants was played out in Spain with a virtuosity unequalled since the days of the Babylonian rabbis. In my third chapter I shall describe some of this scholastic work, and contrast it with that of the political economists who wrote at the same period. Here I wish merely to show that certain of the traditional evasionary devices not only survived in the new Spain but took on fresh life and vigor there. Perhaps the most striking feature of the economy of Spain in the sixteenth century is the increase in her supplies of gold and silver caused by imports of the precious metals from the recently discovered Indies.

Small quantities of gold and silver began to reach Spain in the first decades of the century. The first half of the sixteenth century saw a dramatic rise in the Castilian price level, which continued until the end of the century. The increase in prices began in Seville, home port of the treasure fleet, and spread through Andalusia and New Castile, and thence to Old Castile and Valencia. Since the curves of treasure imports and of prices do not correspond exactly the former rising more rapidly in the second half of the century, and the latter in the first half , the phenomenal increase in Spanish prices and wages—a fourfold growth between and —cannot be explained, as contemporary observers often explained it, by the simple application of the quantity theory of money.

But, while opinions differ as to the precise effect of treasure imports on the Spanish price level, no historian has gone so far as to doubt that the influx of precious metals helped in some measure to inflate prices. There are great real-exchanges for all fairs, within and without the kingdom, sales and purchases on credit and for cash, and for huge sums, great shipments, and baratas for many thousands and millions, such as neither Tyre nor Alexandria in their day could equal. But the practice has arisen of lending money at usury and disguising the contract as an exchange-deal.

Dry exchanges [continues Mercado] are exchanges that exist not, nor have being, but are imaginary, and bear a blank space for a name.

They are scarcely to be numbered. Firstly, the gentlemen and princes take out a great quantity of bills drawn on Naples, Antwerp, or Coimbra. Where they have no money, nor expect to have it except on paper, but only to gain time, they draw a first bill of exchange on some person in that place, and mostly there is no such person. Then, when it does, he draws another in the name of his factor [in the distant place, of course] and says that, having no funds for that payment, he has taken it on exchange at so much per cent.

Occasionally, being somewhat scrupulous, and thinking the fault lies in not sending off the bill, the changer actually does remit it to Flanders, instructing his correspondents to protest it and rechange it at the market rate. All these frauds, first, second, and third are steps that lead straight to hell. The transfer of money by some kind of document, avoiding the necessity of transporting the coins themselves, must go back to the very beginnings of long-distance trade.

I have already mentioned one or two of the instruments used by Jewish and Islamic traders to convey money from country to country. We have also seen that the transfer of debt was long frowned upon by the orthodox of both religions, and that money-changing was suspect in Islam, highly so , since usury could easily be hidden in the exchange-rates. The exact mechanics of an exchange-transaction do not matter for the purpose of this study. Whether the instrument used to perform the exchange was called by a Hebrew, Arabic, or Latin name, or took the form of a notarial contract, bill of exchange, or informal private letter, the effect was the same.

Money present was exchanged for money absent, as the medieval phrase had it, and if the two amounts were in different currencies, as was usually the case, they were exchanged at the market rate. The exchange-contract was known to Roman law and was probably common in the earlier Middle Ages.

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The oldest bills of exchange that have come down to us date from the twelfth century. Other bills of about the same period refer to advances made in Genoa in local money and repayable in Provisine currency at the next fair of Champagne. Sometimes the contract stipulates that if the payment is not duly made the debt must be settled in Genoa on the return of the caravan bringing home the Genoese merchants from the fair. It may have been a genuine transfer of funds, or it may have been a straight loan disguised as an exchange transaction. It would seem, too, that the changer, or broker, commonly charged a commission for his services.

Here the concept of interesse, derived from Roman law, came into play. In and the French Crown authorized the payment of interesse on bills payable at the fairs of Champagne and Brie, which were held six times a year. In Flanders, in the sixteenth century, the exchanges functioned in much the same way. Merchants made loans carrying interesse to other merchants who were travelling to a distant country, justifying their profit on the pretext of lucrum cessans.

But lenders were not content with this relatively moderate rate of interesse, or with whatever profit they could make by speculating on the exchanges. They made loans not only to merchants who genuinely needed money for trading purposes but to all-comers, charging exorbitant usura made up of interesse where it was permitted and the proceeds of a fictitious rate of exchange fixed in advance.

In the sixteenth it was widespread throughout Castile where it seems to have become a favorite device for evading the civil and ecclesiastical prohibition of usury. This Edition: current; Page: [ 45 ] was none other than the mohatra, or double contract of talmudic times, a device which, as we have seen, was half-approved by the Babylonian rabbis, fully sanctioned by Maimonides, and often woven by the Islamic lawyers into their elaborate webs of legal fiction. The contract is condemned in a manual for the use of confessors, published in Saragossa in If so, you have committed usury.

At the fairs there is scarce any business but the borrowing of money at usury and the taking of mohatras. All is done through the brokers, which ill-fated wretches are left with the lesser part of the profit and the greater part of the guilt, for they run after these customers, importune those, and deceive them all with their lies, promises, and perjuries. The double contract was condemned not only by the Church but also by the State. On account of the many dealers and money-lenders who travel through the Adelantamientos, the farmers and the very poor suffer great distress.

They enter into contracts and fraudulent schemes by which they bind themselves for large sums and receive much less than the amount they promise to repay, buying goods on credit and immediately afterwards selling them for cash, sometimes to the very same merchants who have sold them the goods. It was not only at the fairs, then, that the double contract flourished.

In certain districts of Castile, namely the Adelantamientos, it was the common resort of poor people in The Adelantamientos Edition: current; Page: [ 46 ] included Leon and Burgos, both of which had been important centers of Jewish commerce throughout the Middle Ages. It seems reasonable to suppose that the mohatra or double contract, which I have shown to be of Jewish origin, was among the devices used by medieval Jewish money-lenders to conceal usury, and that after the expulsion of the Jews in it continued to be used among Christians, especially those of Jewish antecedence, in the parts of Castile where it had been most firmly rooted.

The use of the mohatra or barata, as the double contract was often called was by no means confined to the poorer borrower. He describes the contract in several passages:. Another ocean of fraud are the baratas that are here in use. The origin of this business was and remains the want of money in which many find themselves. They cannot borrow in exchange, because the term allowed for repayment is very short and they desire it to be long. The barata, then, was the resort of those who needed long-term credit.

Mercado goes on to explain that there are two kinds of barata, one being permissible and the other forbidden. Mercado regards the contract as permissible for the borrower, provided he sells the merchandise openly. Indeed, he is performing a public service by selling his goods cheaply. But the merchant who sells him the clothing on credit is to be looked on with suspicion. They hold him in no good opinion, though they do not condemn or reprove anyone else who may buy the goods.

As Saravia had observed twenty years before, dealings in baratas were largely in the hands of corredores —those brokers or commission-agents without whose services, even today, it is difficult to transact the smallest piece of business in certain parts of Spain. Touts were sent out to fish for customers:.

Then he makes out a receipt for the satin or the cocoa, though generally he has never even seen them, nor ever could, except in the land of Cockaigne. But they all understand one another and turn a blind eye to the fraud. Occasionally there would come forward some simple-minded person who was unfamiliar with the device:. I once saw a broker offer the business to a rich blacksmith in so bold and care-free a manner that the smith took him at his word. He handed over two thousand ducats, no little pleased at the prospect of earning two hundred in each thousand.

But when he found out the truth he undid the contract like a good Christian, being unwilling to take interesse arising out of such a diabolical fraud. Few were so ingenuous. The hoary double contract was, as a rule, recognized by all. We have already noted its use in medieval Italy. The correspondence between the talmudic, Maimonidean, and modern descriptions of the mohatra leaves, it seems to me, little doubt on that score.

As regards the name, mohatra, I have been unable to find any instance of its use in Spain before , though I cannot believe that the word was not in use before that date. The double contract was to keep its popularity for many years to come. Some theologians began tentatively to condone it, calling down the contempt of their opponents.

We may suppose that in the course of the eighteenth century the mohatra fell gradually out of use together with other evasionary devices, the merging of the once well-separated concepts of interesse and usura having by that time rendered them superfluous. As for the census, which may reasonably be surmised to have originated in reply to the prohibition of usury, it had long since become the general and respectable recourse of the Spanish capitalist.

Nevertheless, it did not escape the attention of the Spanish doctors, many of whom devoted chapters, and even entire treatises, to the subject. A reservative census is. We see this continually in the benefices and prebends of the Church; it is a thing so widely introduced that a man rarely acquires a benefice without it. Mercado approves the contract on the ground that it is the sole concern of ecclesiastics, to whom it is fully familiar.

The contract, says Mercado, is very confusing to the ignorant, who are apt to mistake it for a mutuum, but essentially it is the sale of a right to a yearly payment of money or produce, secured on real estate. This old evasionary device as we may suppose it to be enjoyed great popularity in sixteenth-century Spain. All the ills of Spain proceed from shunning what naturally sustains us and turning to what destroys republics, when they place their wealth in money and in the income derived from census -contracts, which like a general plague have reduced these realms to abject poverty, since all or most men have desired to live by this means, on the interest they get from their money, without considering where they are to find what they require for such a way of life.

This is the thing that has so obviously ruined this republic and the census -holders, because, thinking only of getting an income, they have renounced the virtuous processes of the crafts, commerce, husbandry, and all that naturally sustains mankind. The Mosaic prohibition of usury, then, presented the same dilemma to the members of the three religious communities of medieval Spain.

Edition: current; Page: [ 50 ] Should the taboo be observed in its original purity or circumvented to suit the facts of business life? Jews, Moslems, and Christians in turn chose the second course, but, in each case, only after a tenacious, centuries-long struggle. What effect, we may wonder, did the attempt to abolish usury have on the life of medieval Spain?

It is difficult to agree with those who hold that the civil and ecclesiastical laws against usury greatly hampered the economic development of the Peninsula. In the first place, many lenders were Jews and Moors, and it was not until the middle of the fourteenth century that these were forbidden to lend at a moderate rate of usury. Secondly, Christian lenders found ways of evading the ban we have examined only a few of them. We can probably take this pronouncement at its face value. It was perhaps fortunate that the anti-usury laws could not be fully enforced.

One of their chief aims was to protect the needy peasants from the depredations of the money-lender. Yet, speaking as one who has farmed in Spain for many years, I am sure that without some means of getting credit to tide him over the bad years—and bad years, in Spain, have always been frequent—it could no more have been possible for the medieval Spanish farmer to scratch a living from the soil than it is for his modern successor.

The result was disastrous. The vassals complained that it was far worse to get no credit at all than to pay usury, since they were now obliged to sell their cattle, wool, and corn in advance of the crop, and begged the count to restore the old state of affairs. Being unwilling to do so, Don Pedro was forced to furnish three of his towns with stocks of money and grain that could be borrowed by the farmers.

But, so far as is known, there were few such public granaries in Spain at this period. We may safely assume that if the rapacity of the medieval money-lender Edition: current; Page: [ 51 ] brought ruin to some, the provision of credit saved others from that fate. We may perhaps venture to ask another question, one that is more far-reaching in its implications.

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Spain, it has often been said, is a difficult country to govern. Her people are—have always been—individualists, mistrustful of authority, indifferent to the public good, united only in the evasion of any law that does not suit their purpose. And it must be confessed that this criticism a commonplace among travellers in Spain from the sixteenth century onwards, as well as among Spaniards themselves is not entirely unfounded.

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Can the last of these alleged defects, the light-hearted flouting of tiresome regulations—the observance, let us say, of the letter, not the spirit, of the law—be yet another legacy of the complex Spanish past? Could it be that the Jewish and Moslem custom of evading outworn taboos by the use of legal fictions a habit by no means confined to usury but extending to many other walks of life and the adoption, in turn and for similar reasons, of evasive devices by Christians, have helped in some measure to bring law itself into contempt?

Legal fictions, it is true, were far from being unknown to Roman law. But their function was the relatively minor one of providing the legal framework for current practice with a minimum of innovation and disturbance: in Jewish and Islamic law it was that of evading a positive and solemn commandment of religion. In the first chapter I chose the subject of usury as an example of economic thought governed by religious principles.

The view that all the activities of life, even the trivial haggling of the marketplace, are subject to the commands of God, forever valid and immutable, was that taken by the three religions of medieval Spain. It may be contrasted with the attitude of the Greeks, whose economic teaching rested chiefly on ethical principles, and who appealed to reason, and not to any form of revealed truth. This second type of doctrine gained a footing in Spain at a period when the first was still in its heyday.

The transmission of Greek economics to the West was the joint work of Christians, Moslems, and Jews, who collaborated in harmony. It is paradoxical that this lofty task should have been performed by men who in their private affairs may well have been busy evading the usury laws by some such sordid device as those I have described. But human life is made up of light and shade. Up to now I may seem to have taken rather a cynical view of the intellectual activities of our medieval Spaniards. It is more than time that we watched them follow a more elevated purpose. We shall begin by considering what were the economic doctrines whose passage through Spain we are able to trace, and later show the way in which they were transmitted.

For the purpose of this study Plato and Aristotle overshadow all other Greek authors. Their importance for later theory can hardly be exaggerated. The first five chapters of the Wealth of Nations simply develop the line of reasoning laid down by Aristotle, and, even today, textbooks of economic theory generally open by recapitulating the ideas that we are about to examine.

In the second book of the Republic, Plato considers the problem of justice within the community. We all have many needs. Plato next examines the nature of commercial exchange. If a man exchanges his product for that of another, it is because the transaction is to the advantage of both parties. To satisfy the primary demands of even the smallest settlement we shall need at least a farmer, a builder, a weaver, and one or two other specialized producers. More things will be made, and the work will be easier, if each man devotes himself entirely to his own trade.

As our little state develops, other workers will be needed. Farmers must have ploughs, and builders, weavers, and shoemakers their necessary tools. There will have to be merchants to fetch the things that are needed from other countries. And, since they must carry back in return the goods those countries require, home production has to be increased by adding to the number of farmers and craftsmen employed.

We shall also need shipowners and others skilled in foreign trade. This short discussion is full of ideas that were taken up and developed by many later writers. The fact that Plato considers them in relation to the concept of justice helps to explain why, up to the end of the eighteenth century at least, it is in juridical treatises that we find some of the best discussions of such topics as the division of labor, demand, utility, and money as a medium of exchange.

Plato continues his description of the economic growth of the state by showing how an unhealthy demand for luxury and unlimited Edition: current; Page: [ 62 ] wealth may lead to aggression and war. Demand is for Plato morally neutral having a good and an evil side. Finally he returns to that principle, and shows its intimate connection with the problem of justice.

The economic teaching of Aristotle is found chiefly in his Politics and Nicomachean Ethics and to a small extent in the Rhetoric and Topics. The Nicomachean Ethics is not a particularly easy work. In the fifth book of the Nicomachean Ethics he begins by considering the general nature of justice and its various branches. Commercial justice depends on the attainment of equality between the parties to a transaction.

When a dispute arises it is the business of the judge to add to, or take away from the shares currently held by the contending parties until he is satisfied that he has made them equal. The line, as it were, being unequally divided, he takes from the greater part that by which it exceeds the half and adds it on Edition: current; Page: [ 63 ] to the lesser.

Then he divides the whole into two equal portions and gives each man his own. Now, he could not do this in a barter economy. Take the case of a builder and a shoemaker.

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How are we to decide how many shoes are worth a house, having regard to quantity and quality? In other words how are we to compare the value of things diverse in nature? Aristotle answers this question by saying that we do so by reducing them to mathematical terms. For this reason, he says, money was invented: so that we might be able to compare everything that is capable of being exchanged. All this is simple enough, though it is not obvious or banal. But now comes a difficulty.

Having just stated that money measures all things, Aristotle proceeds to say that the measure of all things is really the demand for them. Demand, it now appears, is the common bond of commercial dealings. This seems satisfactory when we consider what has gone before. We may perhaps be permitted to go a little further and say that it now represents the utility the goods have for the contendants—that is, the total amount of utility involved in the deal. By expressing this utility in mathematical or monetary terms the judge can assign an equal amount of utility to each party.

Aristotle proceeds to remark that the Greek word for money, nomisma, is derived from nomos custom or law , and this, he says, implies that money is not a natural thing but arose out of custom, so that it rests with us to change its value or to make it wholly useless. This is quite consistent with the rest of the discussion.

For the purpose of equal division it does not matter what substance our Edition: current; Page: [ 64 ] imaginary line represents though it does matter for other reasons, such as ease of transport. Aristotle further adds that money has another use. It is a store of value. Of course, money is liable to depreciation, for its purchasing power varies. Publicado el 16th julio por Juan Sobejano. Publicado el 14th julio por Xavier Marcet. Ya no existen monopolios. Hoy ya son pocos los clientes que caen en tomar decisiones de compra Publicado el 10th julio por Roberto Espinosa.

Publicado el 9th julio por Juan Sobejano. Como se suele decir, Roberto Espinosa. BrainSwarming Interview for Sintetia with BrainSwarming is the latest tool to emerge from his research. He is working to make BrainSwarming into an online platform so remote groups can solve problems from any location. Did you go through something like that to come up with Brainswarming?

Originally, I developed the top-down bottom-up graph to help individuals solve problems. Then, I had an aha moment that the graph might help groups work together. I tried it out with my colleagues. They worked silently on a problem and placed their contributions on a graph. They liked this process much more than brainstorming.

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I then started reading the research on brainstorming and found that it did not produce more ideas and it did not reliably produce quality ideas. I then started measuring these aspects about my process and discovered that it worked better. Try BrainSwarming. You will see that it produces more ideas faster.

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Also, there is less frustration among the people at the table. In essence, BrainSwarming is a silent method for generating ideas in groups, in which participants contribute their ideas in short notes on a structured graph. BrainSwarming is a replacement for brainstorming. Both methods try to help groups generate ideas. BrainSwarming is more effective than brainstorming. BrainSwarming keeps the good parts of brainstorming and gets rid of the bad. Alex Osborn, the creator of brainstorming, had original goals that were noble.

The problem was that the method he created, brainstorming, did not reach those goals very well. People should go for quantity of ideas. People should create unusual, wild ideas. There is no talking. The Brainswarming process itself keeps people in line because there is no talking. People work in parallel so the work goes much faster. Take a picture of the graph and send that out or just keep the graph up on the wall for later use.

The graph contains short phrases and places all the ideas in their relationship to each other. All contributions are brief as they must fit on a Post-It note. It is all visible on the graph. The graph integrates both seamlessly. Silence and anonymous postings on the graph encourages honesty, risk taking, and wildness of ideas. The graph remains on the wall so people can contribute at different times. Online Brainswarming will allow remote groups from around the world to work together.

Is Brainswarming more effective in some particular scenarios? I agree that BrainSwarming is very effective when the goal is specific or concrete. I am discovering that an abstract goal indicates that some adjustments need to be made. I have devised a special BrainSwarming method that works very well for creating advertisements. I have devised a special BrainSwarming method that works very well for creating new uses for products. In conclusion, problems with abstract goals require variations on the BrainSwarming method.

However, the variations are very effective at solving the problems. Much of my current research focuses on creating effective variations for different types of abstract goals. All the known variations of the BrainSwarming methods are described in the following document. The document describes using BrainSwarming on the following types of problems: technical, strategic planning, marketing, advertising, fundraising, and human resources.

Where to start? I have four recommendations: First, watch the 3-minute video produced by the Harvard Business Review: Second, download these tips on how to run BrainSwarming session: Third, download the executive summary of the webinar hosted by the Harvard Business Review. Fourth, download the document containing 8 use cases of BrainSwarming being used on diverse types of problems: technical, strategic planning, marketing, advertising, fundraising, and human resources.

These use cases show you how to adapt BrainSwarming to different types of problems. Here is a link to a free paper on tips for running a BrainSwarming session. Add small pieces. Rephrase the goal in different ways and add each way to the graph. A brief history of economic thought by Alessandro Roncaglia Book 21 editions published between and in 3 languages and held by WorldCat member libraries worldwide "The evolution of economic thought can be traced back from its beginnings in classical antiquity up to the present day.

In this book, Professor Alessandro Roncaglia offers a clear, concise and updated version of his award-winning The Wealth of Ideas, studying the development of economic thought through perspectives and debates on the economy and society over time. With chapters on prominent economic theorists, including William Petty, Karl Marx, and John Maynard Keynes, as well as on other important figures and key debates of each period, Roncaglia critically evaluates the foundations of the marginalist-neoclassical scarcity-utility approach in comparison to the Classical-Keynes approach.

A comprehensive guide to the history of economic thought, this book will be of value not only to undergraduate and postgraduate students studying economic thought, but also to any readers desiring to study how economics has evolved up to the present day" Market and institutions in economic development : essays in honour of Paulo Sylos Labini Book 10 editions published between and in English and held by WorldCat member libraries worldwide. Lineamenti di economia politica by Alessandro Roncaglia Book 26 editions published between and in 4 languages and held by 93 WorldCat member libraries worldwide.

La ricchezza delle idee : storia del pensiero economico by Alessandro Roncaglia Book 16 editions published between and in Italian and Undetermined and held by 62 WorldCat member libraries worldwide. Petty : la nascita dell'economia politica by Alessandro Roncaglia Book 11 editions published between and in Spanish and Italian and held by 48 WorldCat member libraries worldwide.

Il pensiero economico : temi e protagonisti by Alessandro Roncaglia Book 10 editions published between and in Italian and held by 47 WorldCat member libraries worldwide. Sraffa : la biografia, l'opera, le scuole by Alessandro Roncaglia Book 5 editions published in in Italian and held by 35 WorldCat member libraries worldwide. Audience Level. Related Identities.

La riqueza de las ideas. Una historia del pensamiento económico (Spanish Edition) La riqueza de las ideas. Una historia del pensamiento económico (Spanish Edition)
La riqueza de las ideas. Una historia del pensamiento económico (Spanish Edition) La riqueza de las ideas. Una historia del pensamiento económico (Spanish Edition)
La riqueza de las ideas. Una historia del pensamiento económico (Spanish Edition) La riqueza de las ideas. Una historia del pensamiento económico (Spanish Edition)
La riqueza de las ideas. Una historia del pensamiento económico (Spanish Edition) La riqueza de las ideas. Una historia del pensamiento económico (Spanish Edition)
La riqueza de las ideas. Una historia del pensamiento económico (Spanish Edition) La riqueza de las ideas. Una historia del pensamiento económico (Spanish Edition)
La riqueza de las ideas. Una historia del pensamiento económico (Spanish Edition) La riqueza de las ideas. Una historia del pensamiento económico (Spanish Edition)
La riqueza de las ideas. Una historia del pensamiento económico (Spanish Edition) La riqueza de las ideas. Una historia del pensamiento económico (Spanish Edition)
La riqueza de las ideas. Una historia del pensamiento económico (Spanish Edition) La riqueza de las ideas. Una historia del pensamiento económico (Spanish Edition)

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