3 The origin and functions of money.
Exchanging is prior to buying and selling ... 11
What was money created for? What is its main purpose and use? ... 11
What is the art of exchanging? When and why is it licit? ... 11
Money is useful for many contracts, and it has eight purposes and uses ... 12
A simulated contract is judged by what it is, and not for what is feigned ... 12
11. Regarding [paragraph] nine, we state that the exchange or barter of goods that are not money (as was said most correctly by Paul, (1) the jurisconsult) is a much earlier operation than buying and selling, which began after money was introduced. Before money came into existence, if someone owned a good and was in need of another, he looked for someone who had it and wanted to exchange it for his possession. This was the case, for example, when someone had wine and wool, but not wheat nor shoes, and looked for someone with wheat and shoes who wanted to exchange them for his wine and wool. This is the case even today with some barbarian people [foreigners] with whom the Spanish and others deal.
After a time, money was discovered, which was certainly a very necessary discovery on the one hand. On the other, I am not sure if today it destroys souls because of greed; bodies because of wars, travels, and terrifying pilgrimages; and even itself and the fleets where it travels because of horrifying storms and shipwrecks. The main use and purpose in creating money was as a means of payment in order to buy and sell with it the necessary things for human life, (2) so that it would become a public measure [common standard] of goods to be sold. (3) After this, coins of a metal or value started being bartered for coins of another metal or another value, such as the thick one for the thin one and the thin one for the thick one. Later, because the currency of a land was worth less there than somewhere else (as today almost all the gold and silver currency from Spain is worth less there than in Flanders and France), the art of exchanging started, which is the art of dealing with currency. By giving and taking one for another, money started getting transferred from where it was worth least to where it was worth most. As happens in our times, many people have increased their fortune, taking to Flanders and France ducats in groups of two, four, and ten, some in small barrels, pretending they are olives, some in wine barrels, making a big profit with each one. In turn, they brought from those places merchandise that was worth little over there but had great value over here, thus helping with one but hurting us much with the other.
Aristotle (4) thought it was wrong to exchange and trade with money because he did not think this third use of money was natural nor brought any benefit to the republic nor had any other purpose but that of profit, which is an end without an end. Saint Thomas (5) said that any art of exchange whose main purpose was only to obtain profit was illicit. Saint Thomas (6) himself, however, declares that the art of exchange is licit if its purpose is a moderate profit to support oneself and one's home and if the art of exchange brings about some benefit to the republic. We say that if it is exercised as it should be and the purpose of the profit is directed to honestly and moderately support oneself and one's home, then it is licit. It is not true that using money to obtain a profit by exchanging it goes against its very nature because, even if it is a different use than the first and main one for which it was created, it is still apt for a less principal and secondary use. This happens, for example, when shoes are used to make a profit, which, although is a different use than the primary one for which they were created (which was to wear on feet), does not go against their very nature.
12. Money has eight different purposes. The first three are the ones already mentioned. (7) The fourth is to display one's riches, (8) showing it to everyone or putting it in the marketplace where it is dealt with or exchanged. The fifth is to use it as medals and clothing decorations. The sixth use is to cheer with its presence. (9) The seventh use is to cure some illnesses with its broth as, they say, (10) is one of the properties of gold powder. The eighth use is as security for a debt. For these last five purposes, it is possible not only to lend and exchange money but even to rent it out. Thus, money may be given by way of many contracts: by way of price for a purchased good; by way of merchandise sold for another money; by way of innominate contract of barter or other, exchanging it for something else or for money; by way of lending called Mutuum, when something else is given back and not the same thing; by way of lending called Commodatum, in order to get back the same thing given; by way of security for what is owed; and by way of rental of a sum so that the same amount that was given is returned, after the person who borrows it takes advantage of its use, by showing his riches, or enjoying its presence, or using its broth, or giving it as security, and so forth.
It can be taken (11) by as many ways as it can be given. Because the nature of the above-mentioned contracts, by which it is possible to give and take money, is diverse, so there are diverse law regulations that determine if and when they are licit or not. If money is given by way of buying and selling, it cannot be given but for what something else is worth. (12) The same goes for when it is given by way of exchange or barter. (13)
If it is given by way of loan or if it is given as security for one's own loan (whether the same or another is given back), neither a small nor a big sum can be charged. (14) If rented out to enliven or honor with its presence or to cure with its broth or to use as security for someone else's debt, an honest rent may be taken (15) because the nature of this contract is not to transfer the ownership but only the appraised use of money according to the amount of time for which it was taken. It is important to understand what truly happens than what is feigned to happen. (16) Every time one of these contracts is carried out truthfully and another is feigned, one should judge not by the rules of the feigned one but by the [rules of the] true one. Thus, if the exchanger truly lends his money, he cannot take anything for this operation, even if he feigns he is exchanging it or renting it out.
(1) In lege I, ff. de rerum permutatione [Digesto 19, 3, I].
(2) Ut praedictus Paulus ait ubi supra [Digesto 19, 3 I], et ante ipsum Aristoteles I politicorum, cap. 6 [Politica I, 3, 8 = Didot I 489].
(3) Saint Thomas, lib. 2, De regimine principum, cap. 13 et omnes recentiores de hac re loquentes, praesertim Ioannes Calderinus hic [Decretales 5, 19, 19, de usuris cap. 11], et Laurentius in c. Consuluit [Decretales 5, 19, 10], pars 2, quaest. 26, aptus ad hoc textus in lege si ita, ff. de fideiussoribus [Digesto 46, I, 42].
(4) I Politico, c. 6 et 7 [Politica I, 3, 8 ss. = Didot I 489-492].
(5) Secunda secundae [Summae], quaest. 77, art. I, 3, communiter receptus
(6) In dicto articulo I [2.2, 77, 4, 3].
(7) De quibus Thomas lib. 2, De regimine principum cap. 14.
(8) Lex s. Finalis [non potest], ff. commodat [Digesto 13, 6, 3, 6].
(9) Quod de auro affirmat Thomas, Secunda secundae [Summae], quaest. 77 art. I, ad I, 3.
(10) Thomas, ubi supra [2.2, 77, 2, 3].
(11) Quippe correlativorum eadem est disciplina, lex I, C. de cupressis, libro 11 [Cod. 11, 77, I], quod late explicat Felinus in prooemium, Gregorius [episcopus], a col. I.
(12) Cap. Cum causa ibi iusto pretio, de emptione [Decreto II, 14, 4, 5].
(13) Nam quoad hoc ipse cambiens emptioris loco habetur: lex sciendum, s. Emptorem, ff. de aedilitio edicto [Digesto 21, I, 19, 5].
(14) Per cap. I et quaeque ubi n. I [p. 6] annotavimus 14, quaest. 3 [Decreto II, 14, 3, I].
(15) Toto titulo ff. Et C. Locati et de locato [Digesto 19, 2, et Cod. 4, 65].
(16) Cap. Plus valere quod agitur, quam quod simulate concipitur, c. Illo vos, de pignoribus [Decretales 3, 21, 4]; c. Ad nostram, de emptione et venditione [Decretales 3, 17, 5].
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|Title Annotation:||Commentary on the Resolution of Money|
|Publication:||Journal of Markets & Morality|
|Date:||Mar 22, 2004|
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