Private Property: Smith's Perspective on Helping Those in Need

Published: 2022-12-27
Private Property: Smith's Perspective on Helping Those in Need
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Economics Finance Philosophy
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1283 words
11 min read

Aristotle, Aquinas, Augustine, and Adam Smith recognized that the control and ownership of private property (riches, wealth and money) is always an initial condition that is necessary for one to put themselves in a position if helping others who are in need. Also, an individual can be said to have been corrupted by the creation of the wealth process if the same person decides that she/he cannot assist the ones in need. The paper, therefore, is premised on a discussion regarding the ways Smith's approach differ from that of Aquinas and Aristotle, the extent to which they flow from having varying premises and assumptions from each other and the extent to which they are explained by their respective views of human nature.

Trust banner

Is your time best spent reading someone else’s essay? Get a 100% original essay FROM A CERTIFIED WRITER!

In What way does Smith's Approach Differ from that of Aristotle and Aquinas?

The general view of Aquinas, Aristotle and Smith can be summed up with the following words. If a person wishes to do good, then he or she must first be successful, but should not be corrupted by the accumulation process of wealth. And, in case the person is successful, then he or she will always have the resources with which to assist the needy. However, Adam Smith tried to move beyond the political evaluation and analysis of Aquinas and Aristotle on the concern on whether the accumulation of wealth or economic growth can or cannot promote vice (greed) and virtue (giving) (Brady, & Gorga, 2017).

According to Smith, he believed that the efficient and effective control of loans and money by an independent, Central Bank might create an institution that might promote and enhance the fortunes of the charitable people who are sober while either neutralizing or penalizing the greedy people such as the projectors, the prodigals and imprudent risk takers (Mahoney, 2017). According to Smith, the action would curb any state from degenerating into the kind of nation that is optimized by Athens during the 400 BC. Additionally, the suggested Central Bank, would maintain and keep the dominant economic positions of vast, judicious, circumspect, frugal, prudent, careful, and thriving middle-class people by skewing their loans and credit towards them and away from the imprudent risk takers, projectors, and prodigals, who mostly consisted of the rich and the upper income class. However, history never blessed the deeds of Adam as well as the achievement of his ideas which comprised of a distillation of the wisdom of the ages (Mahoney, 2017).

To what Extent do Smith, Aristotle and Aquinas Flow from having Different Premises and Assumptions from Each Other?

Aristotle, Aquinas, and Adam all had different thoughts regarding the suggestions that each of them made. According to Aristotle, the economic activity gets construed as a type of praxis involved in allocating the material and human means which is made up of the Oikos (the domestic community) in fulfilling its natural ends by ensuring life and the means of life. Moreover, through the way of natural chrematistics art of acquisition, families obtain the necessary mechanism of it which originates from the exchange and production (Aristotle, 1999). The families who are grouped in the polis (political community) whose end is focused on healthy living, according to virtues, where justice is depicted as a complete virtue. Nevertheless, the ethos of Christians regarded every act of human, whether external or internal, as a complete system (Oikos, chrematistics, and polis) that was tending towards its primary goal (beatitudo) (Aristotle, 1999).

According to Aquinas' view, the necessity of irrational beings, the natural law, loving the actions of God (divine law), and the contingency of human actions and things are harmonized by the external law where the economy is part of it. For instance, an activity such as trading is considered to be lawful if it is at the service of the polis or Oikos, and according to the way it is exercised, through following the commutative justice (Aquinas, 2010). The religious, family, and political behavior of the nature of humans creates what the necessary-natural is made up of, embracing and accepting, apart from the bodily goods, the derived and considered the social status and the life that is chosen (religious, contemplative, active or civil). Moreover, with Aquinas, any economic activity that is based on an anthropological root, has a unique section as a part of an ordered totality that is legal-natural, which provides the economy with sufficient and meaningful moral guidance (Aquinas, 2010).

As depicted by Adam Smith, he only lays out how the economy works. He says that people are often naturally sociable and seek the material comfort to acquire the predisposition to barter, truck and exchange. He talks about the market exchange, high productivity, division of labor, accumulation, and investment, specialization, material wealth and comfort. Also, the processes that are driven by human nature begins in the countryside with productivity expansion in creating and maintaining the necessities of life and moves to the advanced towns with a subsequent increment of productivity in making life conveniences (Mahoney, 2017). Later, the action showcases itself with the advancement and development of international long-distance business in luxurious items. And as for Smith, he considered it as the natural history of the economy.

To what Extent is Aristotle, Smith, and Aquinas Explained by their Respective Views of Human Nature?

Smith, Aquinas, and Aristotle have different views on human nature, and all of them disagree with each other in their perspectives on human nature. Aristotle teaches that the life of every man has a purpose and their main aim is always to achieve the desired goal. Additionally, according to Aristotle, every person should use their efforts and abilities to their fullest potential to obtain happiness and enjoyment through exercising their capabilities. Also, with Aristotle, all human beings have a natural capacity and desire in knowing and understanding the truth, pursuing moral excellence, and instantiating their ideas in the earth through their actions (Aristotle, 1999).

Adam Smith, on the other hand, depicts the nature of human difference. He conceives human beings as self-centered, selfish, exclusively concerned about always loving themselves and an unquenchable desire for worldly wealth in the most extravagant forms. Smith's model of man is created and developed in The Wealth of Nations (Mahoney, 2017). According to Aquinas, humans are bodies or living organisms. He depicts humans as animals who can interact cognitively with their environment at a strangely high level as compared to other animals, endowing them with the ability to reason and speak about their surrounding with their partners. For Aquinas, humans are rational animals, and he views the human soul as an overarching structure, organization or configuration which arranges the critical physical bits at many different levels such that humans being able to carry out the behavioral range of vital activities (Brady, & Gorga, 2017).


In conclusion, Aristotle and Aquinas took a jaundiced view towards the economic and accumulation of growth as the dynamics consisted of the economic growth process promptly that led to speculative actions that damaged the social fabric of the society. On the other hand, Smith believed that there was a way of maintaining the dominance of sober people while allowing wealth to accumulate through economic growth. Moreover, all the three had different perceptions of the nature of humans as well as the premises and assumptions to each other.


Aquinas, T. (2010). Summa Theologica (Complete and Unabridged). Coyote Canyon Press.

Aristotle. (1999:2nd ed). Nicomachean Ethics (Introduction and Translation by Terence Irwin). Hackett Publishing Company

Brady, M. E., & Gorga, C. (2017). From Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, and Adam (Smith) to Concordia Monetary Policy-How to Use Public Policy to Guide Accumulation toward Virtuous Ends. Retrieved from

Mahoney, P. G. (2017). Adam Smith, Prophet of Law and Economics. The Journal of Legal Studies, 46(1), 207-236.

Cite this page

Private Property: Smith's Perspective on Helping Those in Need. (2022, Dec 27). Retrieved from

Request Removal

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the SpeedyPaper website, please click below to request its removal:

Liked this essay sample but need an original one?

Hire a professional with VAST experience!

24/7 online support

NO plagiarism