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An Essay on Mediaeval Economic Teaching by O'Brien

AN ESSAY ON MEDIAEVAL 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 Sec. 1. Mediaeval Sec. 2. Economic Sec. 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 Sec. 1. The Just Price Sec. 2. The Just Price when Price fixed by Law Sec. 3. The Just Price when Price not fixed by Law Sec. 4. The Just Price of Labour Sec. 5. Value of the Conception of the Just Price Sec. 6. Was the Just Price Subjective or Objective? Sec. 7. The Mediaeval Attitude towards Commerce Sec. 8. _Cambium_ SECTION 2. THE SALE OF THE USE OF MONEY Sec. 1. Usury in Greece and Rome Sec. 2. Usury in the Old Testament Sec. 3. Usury in the First Twelve Centuries of Christianity Sec. 4. The Mediaeval Prohibition of Usury Sec. 5. Extrinsic Titles Sec. 6. Other Cases in which more than the Loan could be repaid Sec. 7. The Justice of Unearned Income Sec. 8. Rent Charges Sec. 9. Partnership Sec. 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 mediaeval 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.


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