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An Essay on Mediaeval Economic Teaching   By:

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AN ESSAY ON MEDIÆVAL ECONOMIC TEACHING

by

GEORGE O'BRIEN, LITT.D., M.R.I.A.

Author of 'The Economic History of Ireland in the Seventeenth Century,' and 'The Economic History of Ireland in the Eighteenth Century'

1920

TO THE REV. MICHAEL CRONIN, M.A., D.D. UNIVERSITY COLLEGE, DUBLIN

AUTHOR'S NOTE

I wish to express my gratitude to the Rev. Dr. Cronin for his kindness in reading the manuscript, and for many valuable suggestions which he made; also to Father T.A. Finlay, S.J., and Mr. Arthur Cox for having given me much assistance in the reading and revision of the proofs.

CONTENTS

CHAPTER I INTRODUCTORY SECTION 1. AIM AND SCOPE OF THE ESSAY SECTION 2. EXPLANATION OF THE TITLE § 1. Mediæval § 2. Economic § 3. Teaching SECTION 3. VALUE OF THE STUDY OF THE SUBJECT SECTION 4. DIVISION OF THE SUBJECT

CHAPTER II PROPERTY SECTION 1. THE RIGHT TO PRODUCE AND DISPENSE PROPERTY SECTION 2. DUTIES REGARDING THE ACQUISITION AND USE OF PROPERTY SECTION 3. PROPERTY IN HUMAN BEINGS

CHAPTER III DUTIES REGARDING THE EXCHANGE OF PROPERTY SECTION 1. THE SALE OF GOODS § 1. The Just Price § 2. The Just Price when Price fixed by Law § 3. The Just Price when Price not fixed by Law § 4. The Just Price of Labour § 5. Value of the Conception of the Just Price § 6. Was the Just Price Subjective or Objective? § 7. The Mediæval Attitude towards Commerce § 8. Cambium SECTION 2. THE SALE OF THE USE OF MONEY § 1. Usury in Greece and Rome § 2. Usury in the Old Testament § 3. Usury in the First Twelve Centuries of Christianity § 4. The Mediæval Prohibition of Usury § 5. Extrinsic Titles § 6. Other Cases in which more than the Loan could be repaid § 7. The Justice of Unearned Income § 8. Rent Charges § 9. Partnership § 10. Concluding Remarks on Usury SECTION 3. THE MACHINERY OF EXCHANGE

CHAPTER IV CONCLUSION

INDEX

CHAPTER I

INTRODUCTORY

SECTION 1. AIM AND SCOPE OF THE ESSAY

It is the aim of this essay to examine and present in as concise a form as possible the principles and rules which guided and regulated men in their economic and social relations during the period known as the Middle Ages. The failure of the teaching of the so called orthodox or classical political economists to bring peace and security to society has caused those interested in social and economic problems to inquire with ever increasing anxiety into the economic teaching which the orthodox economy replaced; and this inquiry has revealed that each system of economic thought that has from time to time been accepted can be properly understood only by a knowledge of the earlier system out of which it grew. A process of historical inquiry of this kind leads one ultimately to the Middle Ages, and it is certainly not too much to say that no study of modern European economic thought can be complete or satisfactory unless it is based upon a knowledge of the economic teaching which was accepted in mediæval Europe. Therefore, while many will deny that the economic teaching of that period is deserving of approval, or that it is capable of being applied to the conditions of the present day, none will deny that it is worthy of careful and impartial investigation.

There is thus a demand for information upon the subject dealt with in this essay. On the other hand, the supply of such information in the English language is extremely limited. The books, such as Ingram's History of Political Economy and Haney's History of Economic Thought , which deal with the whole of economic history, necessarily devote but a few pages to the Middle Ages. Ashley's Economic History contains two excellent chapters dealing with the Canonist teaching; but, while these chapters contain a mass of most valuable information on particular branches of the mediæval doctrines, they do not perhaps sufficiently indicate the relation between them, nor do they lay sufficient emphasis upon the fundamental philosophical principles out of which the whole system sprang... Continue reading book >>




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