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Natural Law in Pre-Classical Economics

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Essay title: Natural Law in Pre-Classical Economics

The idea of natural law appears often in the pre-classical thought. The three main proponents of this idea are: Aristotle, St. Thomas Aquinas and Francois Quesnay.

Aristotle viewed humans as having needs and wants. Needs were limited while wants were unlimited. Therefore according to the natural order it is right to produce according to the needs because they can be satisfied. Wants on the other hand, being unlimited cannot be satisfied and trying to meet them is therefore impossible and against the natural order. In this same line of thought we get his justification for barter exchanges which because it does not lead to wealth accumulation it helps meet the needs of people, which follows the natural order. However, once money is bought into the question the goal of the exchange is monetary gain, which, because money is barren, should be condemned as being against the natural order. The other main issue that he addresses with regards to the natural law is the idea that the taking of interest was against it. Indeed because money is barren it is wrong to take any type of interest off of it.

St. Thomas Aquinas had to deal with the issue of whether or not private property was in accordance with natural law. He argued that private property was an addition to natural law that did not contradict it, much like clothing which is an addition to the natural law. He still held to the

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