Profligacy Might Be a Better Starting Point: Aristotle Says Cheapness is Incurable

Nichomachean Ethics, 1121b

“Cheapness is incurable—for old age and every type of weakness seems to make men cheap—and it is more natural to people than unselfishness [usually “profligacy”]. For most people are greedy rather than giving. And cheapness is extensive too, with many forms. For there are many manifestations of cheapness, but they all come from two sources: the lack of giving and the surplus of getting. They don’t overlap in all cases, but they often enough occur separately as some men excel at getting and others failing to give.”

ἡ δ’ ἀνελευθερία ἀνίατός τ’ ἐστίν (δοκεῖ γὰρ τὸ γῆρας καὶ πᾶσα ἀδυναμία ἀνελευθέρους ποιεῖν), καὶ συμφυέστερον τοῖς ἀνθρώποις τῆς ἀσωτίας· οἱ γὰρ πολλοὶ φιλοχρήματοι μᾶλλον ἢ δοτικοί. καὶ διατείνει δ’ ἐπὶ πολύ, καὶ πολυειδές ἐστιν· πολλοὶ γὰρ τρόποι δοκοῦσι τῆς ἀνελευθερίας εἶναι. πολλοὶ γὰρ τρόποι δοκοῦσι τῆς ἀνελευθερίας εἶναι. ἐν δυσὶ γὰρ οὖσα, τῇ τ’ ἐλλείψει τῆς δόσεως καὶ τῇ ὑπερβολῇ τῆς λήψεως, οὐ πᾶσιν ὁλόκληρος παραγίνεται

Leave a Reply