19 Pages

Economics and the State

WithVictor Ehrenberg

One of the chief points in the political programme described by Perikles in the Funeral Speech is that all citizens should devote their attention to both house and State, to private as well as public affairs. 1 It can be maintained that at that time, and later even more, the citizens of Athens represented a combination of the political and the economic types of man. Naturally members of the upper class had more opportunity to devote themselves entirely to political life; but democracy demanded an interest in political activity from the great mass of the people. In fact, political leaders emerged from the middle classes at the very time when in these classes political preoccupation was gradually giving way to economic interests. The ordinary citizen then was neither by instinct nor by desire the ‘political animal’ whom Aristotle’s phrase has made famous and who is generally believed to be the true pattern of the Greek citizen.