Economy and Economics of Ancient Greece (Routledge Explorations in Economic History)

Economy and Economics of Ancient Greece (Routledge Explorations in Economic History)

Takeshi Amemiya

Language: English

Pages: 208

ISBN: 0415701546

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Addressing the dearth of literature that has been written on this key aspect of economic history, Takeshi Amemiya, a well known leading economist based at Stanford University, analyzes the two diametrically opposed views about the exact nature of the ancient Greek economy, putting together a broad and comprehensive survey that is unprecedented in this field.

Partly a piece of economic history, partly a critique of utilitarianism, this book explores all areas of the Athenian economy, including public finance, banking and manufacturing and trade as well as discussing the historical, cultural, political and sociological conditions of Ancient Greece and the background in which the economy developed.


As a teacher of an undergraduate course on the Economy and Economics of Ancient Greece, Takeshi Amemiya has written an incisive text that is perfect for undergraduate students of economic history, Greek history and culture as well as a being a useful reference point for graduates and of considerable interest to classicists at any level.

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explanation has been convincingly refuted (Easterling and Muir 1985, p. 129). It is a part of the long tradition of shamanism popular all over Asia and Siberia throughout the ages. The custom of women in trance giving prophecies is still practiced in Japan. Greeks were keenly aware of the insurmountable boundary between immortals and mortals. Two contradictory aspects coexisted in gods. In one aspect gods were familiar beings who granted favors if people prayed to them and practiced acts of piety

of virtues (see the section “Protagoras”). The meaning of this theory is that we can understand individual virtues only by understanding all the virtues. For Plato, true understanding is possible only with the holistic grasp of the subject (see Laws 965B). 122 Economy and Economics of Ancient Greece In Book VII of the Republic, Plato presents his famous analogy of the cave. People in a cave can look only at the shadows of the puppets projected on a wall by the light of a lamp behind the puppets

though very Plato’s economics 139 slow and gradual, consequence of a certain propensity in human nature which has in view no such extensive utility; the propensity to truck, barter, and exchange one thing for another. (Chapter II) Note that Plato, who firmly believes that a human being should always act according to reason, would not want to give such an importance to “a natural propensity.” Plato believes that the division of labor originates in the natural differences of people in their

who does it; but it’s necessary for the man who does it to follow upon the thing done, and not as a spare-time occupation. (370B–370C) Not surprisingly, the third point did not occur to Plato. As an example of the division of labor, Smith talks about the pin factory, where “one man draws out the wire, another straights it, a third cuts it, a fourth points it, a fifth grinds it at the top for receiving the head” (Chapter I). Although Plato did not discuss this kind of division of labor, it was

transcendent 164 Economy and Economics of Ancient Greece expediency is not expedient.” “Yet that even this rule, sacred as it is, admits of possible exceptions is acknowledged by all moralists.” Kant would disagree. According to his famous example recounted in his Critique of Practical Reason, if an evil man pursuing an innocent victim asked Kant where the victim was hiding, Kant would tell the evil man the truth. Mill notes that one of the criticisms against utilitarianism is “that there is

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