This essay juxtaposes two senses given to the concept of “market economy”: economizing the market, as suggested by Aristotle, and marketing the economy, as suggested by modern economists. The essay argues that Aristotle identified the market as arousing excessive desires in people, and by doing so it poses a threat to the mere existence of the polis. As suggested, the solution offered by him was economizing the market by subjecting it to the mode of sound-minded conduct. By following the different definitions of prominent modern economists to the scope and method of economic science, I argue that what Aristotle did not foresee was that the economy may be marketed by prudently economizing bodily desires as self-aroused by the market. Juxtaposing Aristotelian and market economy sheds light on the fact that we are free to choose between vicious and virtuous economy. Whether practicing economic virtue or its corresponding vice, prudence is kept unharmed, and both the sound-minded and the licentious person are liable to slip into some sort of bondage.
Dotan Leshem; Aristotle Economizes the Market. boundary 2 1 August 2013; 40 (3): 39–57. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/01903659-2367104
Download citation file: