By Murray N. Rothbard
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Extra info for An Austrian Perspective on the History of Economic Thought: Volume I: Economic Thought Before Adam Smith
In capitulary after capitulary, Charlemagne and his successors laid down detailed regulations for every aspect of economic, political and religious life throughout the empire. Many of these regulations became incorporated into the canon law of later centuries, thereby remaining influential well after the crumbling of the Carolingian Empire itself. Charlemagne built his despotic network of regulations on a shaky foundation. Thus the important Church council of Nicaea (325) had forbidden any clergymen from engaging in any economic activities leading to 'shameful gain' (turpe lucrum).
Elsewhere, Xenophon outlines the important concept of general equilibrium as a dynamic tendency of the market economy. Thus, he states that when there are too many coppersmiths, copper becomes cheap and the smiths go bankrupt and turn to other activities, as would happen in agriculture or any other industry. He also sees clearly that an increase in the supply of a commodity causes a fall in its price. 7 Aristotle: private property and money The views of the great philosopher Aristotle are particularly important because the entire structure of his thought had an enormous and even dominant influence on the economic and social thought of the high and late Middle Ages, which considered itself Aristotelian.
It is what may be called their "natural freedom"'. These people of natural freedom were born and died themselves, suffered from no restrictions or restraints, and were neither quarrelsome nor disorderly. If rulers were to establish rites and laws to govern the people, 'it would indeed be no different from stretching the short legs of the duck and trimming off ~he long legs of the heron' or 'haltering a horse'. Such rules would not only be of no benefit, but would work great harm. In short, Chuang Tzu concluded, the world 'does simply not need governing; in fact it should not be governed'.