Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux on January 11, 2012

in Complexity & Emergence, History

… is from page 48 of Jacob Viner‘s 1960 article in the Journal of Law & Economics, “The Intellectual History of Laissez Faire“:

The economies of ancient Greece and Rome rested on a foundation of slavery, and, by the leading philosophers at least, the merchants were regarded with suspicion as to their morals and with aristocratic contempt as to their role and status in the good society.  In this setting, an ethical doctrine of individual freedom in the economic sphere, whether for merchants or for manual laborers, would have had infertile ground to grow up in, and neither Greek nor Roman philosophers were sufficiently interested in such lowly matters as production and the market to apply their wits to the formulation of an economic case for or against economic freedom.

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