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Buying & Selling Justly

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Buying & Selling Justly

 

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Quotation

Buying & Selling Justly

"Make yourself a seller when you are buying, and a buyer when you are selling, and then you will sell and buy justly." (St. Francis de Sales, Doctor of the Church)

"[Let] no man overreach nor circumvent his brother in business" (St. Paul, 1 Thes. 4: 6)

"Christian minds should not think that gainful commerce can flourish by usuries or other similar injustices. On the contrary We learn from divine Revelation that justice raises up nations; sin, however, makes nations miserable." (Pope Benedict XIV, "Vix Pervenit", 1745)

"It is written (Matthew 7:12): 'All things...whatsoever you would that men should do to you, do you also to them.' But no man wishes to buy a thing for more than its worth. Therefore no man should sell a thing to another man for more than its worth." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"As [St.] Augustine says 'this jester, either by looking into himself or by his experience of others, thought that all men are inclined to wish to buy for a song and sell at a premium. But since in reality this is wicked, it is in every man's power to acquire that justice whereby he may resist and overcome this inclination.' And then he gives the example of a man who gave the just price for a book to a man who through ignorance asked a low price for it. Hence it is evident that this common desire is not from nature but from vice, wherefore it is common to many who walk along the broad road of sin." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Judgment cannot be pronounced save on what is manifest: for 'a man judges of what he knows' (Ethica Nicomachea i,3). Hence if the defects of the goods offered for sale be hidden, judgment of them is not sufficiently left with the buyer unless such defects be made known to him. The case would be different if the defects were manifest." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"The measures of salable commodities must needs be different in different places, on account of the difference of supply: because where there is greater abundance, the measures are wont to be larger. However in each place those who govern the state must determine the just measures of things salable, with due consideration for the conditions of place and time. Hence it is not lawful to disregard such measures as are established by public authority or custom." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"There is no need to publish beforehand by the public crier the defects of the goods one is offering for sale, because if he were to begin by announcing its defects, the bidders would be frightened to buy, through ignorance of other qualities that might render the thing good and serviceable. Such defect ought to be stated to each individual that offers to buy: and then he will be able to compare the various points one with the other, the good with the bad: for nothing prevents that which is defective in one respect being useful in many others." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"As [St.] Augustine says (De Civitate Dei xi,16) the price of things salable does not depend on their degree of nature...but it depends on their usefulness to man. Hence it is not necessary for the seller or buyer to be cognizant of the hidden qualities of the thing sold, but only of such as render the thing adapted to man's use... Such qualities the seller and buyer can easily discover." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"[H]uman law is given to the people among whom there are many lacking virtue, and it is not given to the virtuous alone. Hence human law was unable to forbid all that is contrary to virtue; and it suffices for it to prohibit whatever is destructive of human intercourse, while it treats other matters as though they were lawful, not by approving of them, but by not punishing them. Accordingly, if without employing deceit the seller disposes of his goods for more than their worth, or the buyer obtain them for less than their worth, the law looks upon this as licit, and provides no punishment for so doing, unless the excess be too great, because then even human law demands restitution to be made, for instance if a man be deceived in regard to more than half the amount of the just price of a thing (Codex IV, xliv, De Rescind. Vend. 2,8). On the other hand the Divine law leaves nothing unpunished that is contrary to virtue. Hence, according to the Divine law, it is reckoned unlawful if the equality of justice be not observed in buying and selling: and he who has received more than he ought must make compensation to him that has suffered loss, if the loss be considerable. I add this condition, because the just price of things is not fixed with mathematical precision, but depends on a kind of estimate, so that a slight addition or subtraction would not seem to destroy the equality of justice." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"It is always unlawful to give anyone an occasion of danger or loss, although a man need not always give another the help or counsel which would be for his advantage in any way; but only in certain fixed cases, for instance when someone is subject to him, or when he is the only one who can assist him. Now the seller who offers goods for sale, gives the buyer an occasion of loss or danger, by the very fact that he offers him defective goods, if such defect may occasion loss or danger to the buyer - loss, if, by reason of this defect, the goods are of less value, and he takes nothing off the price on that account - danger, if this defect either hinder the use of the goods or render it hurtful, for instance, if a man sells a lame for a fleet horse, a tottering house for a safe one, rotten or poisonous food for wholesome. Wherefore if such like defects be hidden, and the seller does not make them known, the sale will be illicit and fraudulent, and the seller will be bound to compensation for the loss incurred. On the other hand, if the defect be manifest, for instance if a horse have but one eye, or if the goods though useless to the buyer, be useful to someone else, provided the seller take as much as he ought from the price, he is not bound to state the defect of the goods, since perhaps on account of that defect the buyer might want him to allow a greater rebate than he need. Wherefore the seller may look to his own indemnity, by withholding the defect of the goods." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"It is altogether sinful to have recourse to deceit in order to sell a thing for more than its just price, because this is to deceive one's neighbor so as to injure him. Hence Tully says (De Officiis iii,15): 'Contracts should be entirely free from double-dealing: the seller must not impose upon the bidder, nor the buyer upon one that bids against him.' But, apart from fraud, we may speak of buying and selling in two ways. First, as considered in themselves, and from this point of view, buying and selling seem to be established for the common advantage of both parties, one of whom requires that which belongs to the other, and vice versa, as the Philosopher states (Politica i,3). Now whatever is established for the common advantage, should not be more of a burden to one party than to another, and consequently all contracts between them should observe equality of thing and thing. Again, the quality of a thing that comes into human use is measured by the price given for it, for which purpose money was invented, as stated in Ethica Nicomachea v,5. Therefore if either the price exceed the quantity of the thing's worth, or, conversely, the thing exceed the price, there is no longer the equality of justice: and consequently, to sell a thing for more than its worth, or to buy it for less than its worth, is in itself unjust and unlawful. Secondly we may speak of buying and selling, considered as accidentally tending to the advantage of one party, and to the disadvantage of the other: for instance, when a man has great need of a certain thing, while an other man will suffer if he be without it. In such a case the just price will depend not only on the thing sold, but on the loss which the sale brings on the seller. And thus it will be lawful to sell a thing for more than it is worth in itself, though the price paid be not more than it is worth to the owner. Yet if the one man derive a great advantage by becoming possessed of the other man's property, and the seller be not at a loss through being without that thing, the latter ought not to raise the price, because the advantage accruing to the buyer, is not due to the seller, but to a circumstance affecting the buyer. Now no man should sell what is not his, though he may charge for the loss he suffers. On the other hand if a man find that he derives great advantage from something he has bought, he may, of his own accord, pay the seller something over and above: and this pertains to his honesty." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

Also See: Economic Life | Fraud in Commerce | The Love of Money | Making a Good Profit | Many Sin for the Sake of Profit | Selling of Spiritual Things / Simony | Testifying to Christ Through Secular Business | Those Immersed in Buying & Selling | Trading is Open to Many Vices | What Does it Profit to Gain the World and Lose One's Soul | Financial / Monetary (Topical Scripture)

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

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