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Doctrine of "Fair Price” by Thomas Aquinas: background, laws of development and specific interpretation


Journal of Institutional studies, , Vol. 7 (no. 1),

The paper is dedicated premises of origin and patterns of development of the doctrine of “fair price” Aquinas. Showing contradictions exchange of agricultural products to urban goods and services, resulting in a developed feudalism. For agricultural products incoming to the city market, the situation was characterized as the free competition, while medieval guild tried to create a monopoly conditions for the production and sale of its products, which objectively leads to distortion of prices. Under these conditions, the development of the problem of "fair price" becomes extremely important. The paper shows how scholasticism using theological methodology, trying to solve this problem.

Greed condemned, was considered evil and sin of avarice considered the source of all evils. This tradition goes back to the interpretation of the Gospel of Matthew John Chrysostom. Alexander Halensis one of the first attempted rehabilitation of commercial activities and even tried to criticize the position of the Pseudo-Chrysostom that the merchant is not pleasing to God. In the "sum of all theology" Alexander Halensis wrote that moral qualities profits depend on the circumstances of 6:

1. From the person selling (which allowed the laity, the monks are not allowed);

2. His intentions (satisfaction or desire for profit);

3. The method of sale (by fair means or fraud);

4. Time of trade (on weekdays or holidays, designed for prayer or service of God);

5. Selling place (in the market or in holy places);

6. Relationship to the buyers (which is expressed in the level - excessive or normal - the selling price).

Analyzes the rationale arguments to grounding the doctrine of "fair price", show the evolution of the concept during XII - XIV centuries, as well as its relationship with the teachings of the scholastics on the percentage. The paper deals with various estimates of the concept of "fair value" of Thomas Aquinas, resulting in the history of economic thought. Critically analyzed the "contribution" of Thomas Aquinas in the development of the labor theory of value. Such an ambiguous approach to a "fair" price led to what some researchers considered the forerunner of Thomas Aquinas, the cost of labor history: I. M. Kulisher (1906), R. H. Tawney (1926), J.-B. Kraus (1930), S. Hagenauer (1931), A. Fanfani (1935), O.V. Trachtenberg (1957), Y. Mike. (1994) - and others have tried to try on his views with utility theory (since it appeared demand Aquinas had to implement trade) trying to try two beginnings consumer and labor: H. Contzen (1869), E. Schreiber (1913), O. Scbilling (1923), R. De Roover (1958), R. M. Nureev (2005). Therefore, in the second half of the XX century, many researchers refuse to consider a "fair price" as the basis of cost, and steel is identified with its current market price: A. Sapori (1955), J. T. Noonan (1957), L. W. Baldwin (1959), Dr. T. Stetsyura (2010). The paper analyzes the arguments "pro" and "contra" in favor of each of these approaches.

Keywords: the medieval city; guild system; merchant and usury capital; feudal economic mentality; Trading profit «Fair price», scholasticism; Thomas Aquinas; the doctrine of the percentage

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