Blohm & Voss Bv138

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Between the end of the seventeenth, and the beginning of the eighteenth, centuries the free thinkers Bayle (1704:359–61) and Mandeville (1705) took another decisive step forward. They set two codes of conduct contrasting each other. On the one hand there is the virtuous life, guided by moral value, which leads to the renunciation of wealth and of the comforts of life. This creates virtuous but poor societies, which fall into decline. On the other hand there is the selfish life, in pursuit of wealth and success.

All three were therefore more than mere economists—they were superb economic historians, philosophers and social scientists, who saw their subject matter as the study of ‘man in society’ and who viewed that subject matter as a source for action and not just contemplation…[who] tried to resolve the theoretical problem of blending analytical considerations with the force of history. (Groenewegen 1982a:19–20) And consider his following retrospective thoughts: In general, I would say that a lot of history runs through all my material.

The latter difference is underlined by the author’s sentence that one work (in the sense of job) can be ‘better’ than another; ‘they must therefore be equated’. Here Aristotle puts forwards his famous equation, usually called now the diagonal conjunction: ‘There will, then, be reciprocity when the terms have been equated so that as farmer is to shoemaker, the amount of the shoemaker’s work is to that of the farmer’s work for which it exchanges’ (Nic. Ethics, 1133a, 34–8: 38 la). What is it that makes producers unequal?

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