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Pages of republic (books 6 - 10)



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republic (books 6 - 10)   


and inviting them to help and join in the struggle; in true oli-
garchical fashion he fights with a small part only of his re-
sources, and the result commonly is that he loses the prize and
saves his money.

Very true.

Can we any longer doubt, then, that the miser and money-
maker answers to the oligarchical State?

There can be no doubt.

Next comes democracy; of this the origin and nature have
still to be considered by us; and then we will inquire into the
ways of the democratic man, and bring him up for judgment.

That, he said, is our method.

Well, I said, and how does the change from oligarchy into
democracy arise? Is it not on this wise: the good at which
such a State aims is to become as rich as possible, a desire which
is insatiable?

What then?

The rulers being aware that their power rests upon their
wealth, refuse to curtail by law the extravagance of the spend-
thrift youth because they gain by their ruin; they take interest
from them and buy up their estates and thus increase their own
wealth and importance?

To be sure.

There can be no doubt that the love of wealth and the spirit
of moderation cannot exist together in citizens of the same
State to any considerable extent; one or the other will be disre-
garded.

That is tolerably clear.

And in oligarchical States, from the general spread of care-
lessness and extravagance, men of good family have often been
reduced to beggary?

Yes, often.

And still they remain in the city; there they are, ready to
sting and fully armed, and some of them owe money, some have
forfeited their citizenship; a third class are in both predica-
ments; and they hate and conspire against those who have got
their property, and against everybody else, and are eager for
revolution.

That is true.

On the other hand, the men of business, stooping as they
walk, and pretending not even to see those whom they have
already ruined, insert their sting--that is, their money--into
someone else who is not on his guard against them, and recover
the parent sum many times over multiplied into a family of chil-
dren: and so they make drone and pauper to abound in the
State.

Yes, he said, there are plenty of them--that is certain.

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