Authors/Thomas Aquinas/Summa Theologiae/Part IIb/Q77

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Q76 Q78



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IIª-IIae q. 77 pr. Deinde considerandum est de peccatis quae sunt circa voluntarias commutationes. Et primo, de fraudulentia quae committitur in emptionibus et venditionibus; secundo, de usura, quae fit in mutuis. Circa alias enim commutationes voluntarias non invenitur aliqua species peccati quae distinguatur a rapina vel furto. Circa primum quaeruntur quatuor. Primo, de iniusta venditione ex parte pretii, scilicet, utrum liceat aliquid vendere plus quam valeat. Secundo, de iniusta venditione ex parte rei venditae. Tertio, utrum teneatur venditor dicere vitium rei venditae. Quarto, utrum licitum sit aliquid, negotiando, plus vendere quam emptum sit. Question 77. Cheating, which is committed in buying and selling 1. Unjust sales as regards the price: namely, is it lawful to sell a thing for more than its worth? 2. Unjust sales on the part of the thing sold 3. Is the seller bound to reveal a fault in the thing sold? 4. Is it lawful in trading to sell a thing at a higher price than was paid for it?
IIª-IIae q. 77 a. 1 arg. 1 Ad primum sic proceditur. Videtur quod aliquis licite possit vendere rem plus quam valeat. Iustum enim in commutationibus humanae vitae secundum leges civiles determinatur. Sed secundum eas licitum est emptori et venditori ut se invicem decipiant, quod quidem fit inquantum venditor plus vendit rem quam valeat, emptor autem minus quam valeat. Ergo licitum est quod aliquis vendat rem plus quam valeat. Objection 1. It would seem that it is lawful to sell a thing for more than its worth. On the commutations of human life, civil laws determine that which is just. Now according to these laws it is just for buyer and seller to deceive one another (Cod. IV, xliv, De Rescind. Vend. 8,15): and this occurs by the seller selling a thing for more than its worth, and the buyer buying a thing for less than its worth. Therefore it is lawful to sell a thing for more than its worth.
IIª-IIae q. 77 a. 1 arg. 2 Praeterea, illud quod est omnibus commune videtur esse naturale et non esse peccatum. Sed sicut Augustinus refert, XIII de Trin., dictum cuiusdam mimi fuit ab omnibus acceptatum, vili vultis emere, et care vendere. Cui etiam consonat quod dicitur Prov. XX, malum est, malum est, dicit omnis emptor, et cum recesserit, gloriatur. Ergo licitum est aliquid carius vendere et vilius emere quam valeat. Objection 2. Further, that which is common to all would seem to be natural and not sinful. Now Augustine relates that the saying of a certain jester was accepted by all, "You wish to buy for a song and to sell at a premium," which agrees with the saying of Proverbs 20:14, "It is naught, it is naught, saith every buyer: and when he is gone away, then he will boast." Therefore it is lawful to sell a thing for more than its worth.
IIª-IIae q. 77 a. 1 arg. 3 Praeterea, non videtur esse illicitum si ex conventione agatur id quod fieri debet ex debito honestatis. Sed secundum philosophum, in VIII Ethic., in amicitia utilis recompensatio fieri debet secundum utilitatem quam consecutus est ille qui beneficium suscepit, quae quidem quandoque excedit valorem rei datae; sicut contingit cum aliquis multum re aliqua indiget, vel ad periculum evitandum vel ad aliquod commodum consequendum. Ergo licet in contractu emptionis et venditionis aliquid dare pro maiori pretio quam valeat. Objection 3. Further, it does not seem unlawful if that which honesty demands be done by mutual agreement. Now, according to the Philosopher (Ethic. viii, 13), in the friendship which is based on utility, the amount of the recompense for a favor received should depend on the utility accruing to the receiver: and this utility sometimes is worth more than the thing given, for instance if the receiver be in great need of that thing, whether for the purpose of avoiding a danger, or of deriving some particular benefit. Therefore, in contracts of buying and selling, it is lawful to give a thing in return for more than its worth.
IIª-IIae q. 77 a. 1 s. c. Sed contra est quod dicitur Matth. VII, omnia quaecumque vultis ut faciant vobis homines, et vos facite illis. Sed nullus vult sibi rem vendi carius quam valeat. Ergo nullus debet alteri vendere rem carius quam valeat. On the contrary, 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.
IIª-IIae q. 77 a. 1 co. Respondeo dicendum quod fraudem adhibere ad hoc quod aliquid plus iusto pretio vendatur, omnino peccatum est, inquantum aliquis decipit proximum in damnum ipsius. Unde et Tullius dicit, in libro de Offic., tollendum est ex rebus contrahendis omne mendacium, non licitatorem venditor, non qui contra se licitetur emptor apponet. Si autem fraus deficit, tunc de emptione et venditione dupliciter loqui possumus. Uno modo, secundum se. Et secundum hoc emptio et venditio videtur esse introducta pro communi utilitate utriusque, dum scilicet unus indiget re alterius et e converso, sicut patet per philosophum, in I Polit. Quod autem pro communi utilitate est inductum, non debet esse magis in gravamen unius quam alterius. Et ideo debet secundum aequalitatem rei inter eos contractus institui. Quantitas autem rerum quae in usum hominis veniunt mensuratur secundum pretium datum, ad quod est inventum numisma, ut dicitur in V Ethic. Et ideo si vel pretium excedat quantitatem valoris rei, vel e converso res excedat pretium, tolletur iustitiae aequalitas. Et ideo carius vendere aut vilius emere rem quam valeat est secundum se iniustum et illicitum. Alio modo possumus loqui de emptione et venditione secundum quod per accidens cedit in utilitatem unius et detrimentum alterius, puta cum aliquis multum indiget habere rem aliquam, et alius laeditur si ea careat. Et in tali casu iustum pretium erit ut non solum respiciatur ad rem quae venditur, sed ad damnum quod venditor ex venditione incurrit. Et sic licite poterit aliquid vendi plus quam valeat secundum se, quamvis non vendatur plus quam valeat habenti. Si vero aliquis multum iuvetur ex re alterius quam accepit, ille vero qui vendidit non damnificatur carendo re illa, non debet eam supervendere. Quia utilitas quae alteri accrescit non est ex vendente, sed ex conditione ementis, nullus autem debet vendere alteri quod non est suum, licet possit ei vendere damnum quod patitur. Ille tamen qui ex re alterius accepta multum iuvatur, potest propria sponte aliquid vendenti supererogare, quod pertinet ad eius honestatem. I answer that, 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 Offic. 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 (Polit. 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 Ethic. 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. On 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.
IIª-IIae q. 77 a. 1 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod, sicut supra dictum est, lex humana populo datur, in quo sunt multi a virtute deficientes, non autem datur solis virtuosis. Et ideo lex humana non potuit prohibere quidquid est contra virtutem, sed ei sufficit ut prohibeat ea quae destruunt hominum convictum; alia vero habeat quasi licita, non quia ea approbet, sed quia ea non punit. Sic igitur habet quasi licitum, poenam non inducens, si absque fraude venditor rem suam supervendat aut emptor vilius emat, nisi sit nimius excessus, quia tunc etiam lex humana cogit ad restituendum, puta si aliquis sit deceptus ultra dimidiam iusti pretii quantitatem. Sed lex divina nihil impunitum relinquit quod sit virtuti contrarium. Unde secundum divinam legem illicitum reputatur si in emptione et venditione non sit aequalitas iustitiae observata. Et tenetur ille qui plus habet recompensare ei qui damnificatus est, si sit notabile damnum. Quod ideo dico quia iustum pretium rerum quandoque non est punctaliter determinatum, sed magis in quadam aestimatione consistit, ita quod modica additio vel minutio non videtur tollere aequalitatem iustitiae. Reply to Objection 1. As stated above (I-II, 96, 2) human 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 [Cod. 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.
IIª-IIae q. 77 a. 1 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod, sicut Augustinus ibidem dicit, mimus ille vel seipsum intuendo, vel alios experiendo vili velle emere et care vendere, omnibus id credidit esse commune. Sed quoniam revera vitium est, potest quisque adipisci huiusmodi iustitiam qua huic resistat et vincat. Et ponit exemplum de quodam qui modicum pretium de quodam libro propter ignorantiam postulanti iustum pretium dedit. Unde patet quod illud commune desiderium non est naturae, sed vitii. Et ideo commune est multis, qui per latam viam vitiorum incedunt. Reply to Objection 2. As 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.
IIª-IIae q. 77 a. 1 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod in iustitia commutativa consideratur principaliter aequalitas rei. Sed in amicitia utilis consideratur aequalitas utilitatis, et ideo recompensatio fieri debet secundum utilitatem perceptam. In emptione vero, secundum aequalitatem rei. Reply to Objection 3. In commutative justice we consider chiefly real equality. On the other hand, in friendship based on utility we consider equality of usefulness, so that the recompense should depend on the usefulness accruing, whereas in buying it should be equal to the thing bought.
IIª-IIae q. 77 a. 2 arg. 1 Ad secundum sic proceditur. Videtur quod venditio non reddatur iniusta et illicita propter defectum rei venditae. Minus enim cetera sunt pensanda in re quam rei species substantialis. Sed propter defectum speciei substantialis non videtur reddi venditio rei illicita, puta si aliquis vendat argentum vel aurum alchimicum pro vero, quod est utile ad omnes humanos usus ad quos necessarium est argentum et aurum, puta ad vasa et ad alia huiusmodi. Ergo multo minus erit illicita venditio si sit defectus in aliis. Objection 1. It would seem that a sale is not rendered unjust and unlawful through a fault in the thing sold. For less account should be taken of the other parts of a thing than of what belongs to its substance. Yet the sale of a thing does not seem to be rendered unlawful through a fault in its substance: for instance, if a man sell instead of the real metal, silver or gold produced by some chemical process, which is adapted to all the human uses for which silver and gold are necessary, for instance in the making of vessels and the like. Much less therefore will it be an unlawful sale if the thing be defective in other ways.
IIª-IIae q. 77 a. 2 arg. 2 Praeterea, defectus ex parte rei qui est secundum quantitatem maxime videtur iustitiae contrariari, quae in aequalitate consistit. Quantitas autem per mensuram cognoscitur. Mensurae autem rerum quae in usum hominum veniunt non sunt determinatae, sed alicubi maiores, alicubi minores, ut patet per philosophum, in V Ethic. Ergo non potest evitari defectus ex parte rei venditae. Et ita videtur quod ex hoc venditio non reddatur illicita. Objection 2. Further, any fault in the thing, affecting the quantity, would seem chiefly to be opposed to justice which consists in equality. Now quantity is known by being measured: and the measures of things that come into human use are not fixed, but in some places are greater, in others less, as the Philosopher states (Ethic. v, 7). Therefore just as it is impossible to avoid defects on the part of the thing sold, it seems that a sale is not rendered unlawful through the thing sold being defective.
IIª-IIae q. 77 a. 2 arg. 3 Praeterea, ad defectum rei pertinet si ei conveniens qualitas deest. Sed ad qualitatem rei cognoscendam requiritur magna scientia, quae plerisque venditoribus deest. Ergo non redditur venditio illicita propter rei defectum. Objection 3. Further, the thing sold is rendered defective by lacking a fitting quality. But in order to know the quality of a thing, much knowledge is required that is lacking in most buyers. Therefore a sale is not rendered unlawful by a fault (in the thing sold).
IIª-IIae q. 77 a. 2 s. c. Sed contra est quod Ambrosius dicit, in libro de Offic., regula iustitiae manifesta est quod a vero non declinare virum deceat bonum, nec damno iniusto afficere quemquam, nec aliquid dolo annectere rei suae. On the contrary, Ambrose says (De Offic. iii, 11): "It is manifestly a rule of justice that a good man should not depart from the truth, nor inflict an unjust injury on anyone, nor have any connection with fraud."
IIª-IIae q. 77 a. 2 co. Respondeo dicendum quod circa rem quae venditur triplex defectus considerari potest. Unus quidem secundum speciem rei. Et hunc quidem defectum si venditor cognoscat in re quam vendit, fraudem committit in venditione, unde venditio illicita redditur. Et hoc est quod dicitur contra quosdam Isaiae I, argentum tuum versum est in scoriam; vinum tuum mixtum est aqua, quod enim permixtum est patitur defectum quantum ad speciem. Alius autem defectus est secundum quantitatem, quae per mensuram cognoscitur. Et ideo si quis scienter utatur deficienti mensura in vendendo, fraudem committit, et est illicita venditio. Unde dicitur Deut. XXV, non habebis in sacculo diversa pondera, maius et minus, nec erit in domo tua modius maior et minor; et postea subditur, abominatur enim dominus eum qui facit haec, et adversatur omnem iniustitiam. Tertius defectus est ex parte qualitatis, puta si aliquod animal infirmum vendat quasi sanum. Quod si quis scienter fecerit, fraudem committit in venditione, unde est illicita venditio. Et in omnibus talibus non solum aliquis peccat iniustam venditionem faciendo, sed etiam ad restitutionem tenetur. Si vero eo ignorante aliquis praedictorum defectuum in re vendita fuerit, venditor quidem non peccat, quia facit iniustum materialiter, non tamen eius operatio est iniusta, ut ex supradictis patet, tenetur tamen, cum ad eius notitiam pervenerit, damnum recompensare emptori. Et quod dictum est de venditore, etiam intelligendum est ex parte emptoris. Contingit enim quandoque venditorem credere suam rem esse minus pretiosam quantum ad speciem, sicut si aliquis vendat aurum loco aurichalci, emptor, si id cognoscat, iniuste emit, et ad restitutionem tenetur. Et eadem ratio est de defectu qualitatis et quantitatis. I answer that, A threefold fault may be found pertaining to the thing which is sold. One, in respect of the thing's substance: and if the seller be aware of a fault in the thing he is selling, he is guilty of a fraudulent sale, so that the sale is rendered unlawful. Hence we find it written against certain people (Isaiah 1:22), "Thy silver is turned into dross, thy wine is mingled with water": because that which is mixed is defective in its substance. Another defect is in respect of quantity which is known by being measured: wherefore if anyone knowingly make use of a faulty measure in selling, he is guilty of fraud, and the sale is illicit. Hence it is written (Deuteronomy 25:13-14): "Thou shalt not have divers weights in thy bag, a greater and a less: neither shall there be in thy house a greater bushel and a less," and further on (Deuteronomy 25:16): "For the Lord . . . abhorreth him that doth these things, and He hateth all injustice." A third defect is on the part of the quality, for instance, if a man sell an unhealthy animal as being a healthy one: and if anyone do this knowingly he is guilty of a fraudulent sale, and the sale, in consequence, is illicit. In all these cases not only is the man guilty of a fraudulent sale, but he is also bound to restitution. But if any of the foregoing defects be in the thing sold, and he knows nothing about this, the seller does not sin, because he does that which is unjust materially, nor is his deed unjust, as shown above (Question 59, Article 2). Nevertheless he is bound to compensate the buyer, when the defect comes to his knowledge. Moreover what has been said of the seller applies equally to the buyer. For sometimes it happens that the seller thinks his goods to be specifically of lower value, as when a man sells gold instead of copper, and then if the buyer be aware of this, he buys it unjustly and is bound to restitution: and the same applies to a defect in quantity as to a defect in quality.
IIª-IIae q. 77 a. 2 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod aurum et argentum non solum cara sunt propter utilitatem vasorum quae ex eis fabricantur, aut aliorum huiusmodi, sed etiam propter dignitatem et puritatem substantiae ipsorum. Et ideo si aurum vel argentum ab alchimicis factum veram speciem non habeat auri et argenti, est fraudulenta et iniusta venditio. Praesertim cum sint aliquae utilitates auri et argenti veri, secundum naturalem operationem ipsorum, quae non conveniunt auro per alchimiam sophisticato, sicut quod habet proprietatem laetificandi, et contra quasdam infirmitates medicinaliter iuvat. Frequentius etiam potest poni in operatione, et diutius in sua puritate permanet aurum verum quam aurum sophisticatum. Si autem per alchimiam fieret aurum verum, non esset illicitum ipsum pro vero vendere, quia nihil prohibet artem uti aliquibus naturalibus causis ad producendum naturales et veros effectus; sicut Augustinus dicit, in III de Trin., de his quae arte Daemonum fiunt. Reply to Objection 1. Gold and silver are costly not only on account of the usefulness of the vessels and other like things made from them, but also on account of the excellence and purity of their substance. Hence if the gold or silver produced by alchemists has not the true specific nature of gold and silver, the sale thereof is fraudulent and unjust, especially as real gold and silver can produce certain results by their natural action, which the counterfeit gold and silver of alchemists cannot produce. Thus the true metal has the property of making people joyful, and is helpful medicinally against certain maladies. Moreover real gold can be employed more frequently, and lasts longer in its condition of purity than counterfeit gold. If however real gold were to be produced by alchemy, it would not be unlawful to sell it for the genuine article, for nothing prevents art from employing certain natural causes for the production of natural and true effects, as Augustine says (De Trin. iii, 8) of things produced by the art of the demons.
IIª-IIae q. 77 a. 2 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod mensuras rerum venalium necesse est in diversis locis esse diversas, propter diversitatem copiae et inopiae rerum, quia ubi res magis abundant, consueverunt esse maiores mensurae. In unoquoque tamen loco ad rectores civitatis pertinet determinare quae sunt iustae mensurae rerum venalium, pensatis conditionibus locorum et rerum. Et ideo has mensuras publica auctoritate vel consuetudine institutas praeterire non licet. Reply to Objection 2. 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.
IIª-IIae q. 77 a. 2 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod, sicut Augustinus dicit, in XI de Civ. Dei, pretium rerum venalium non consideratur secundum gradum naturae, cum quandoque pluris vendatur unus equus quam unus servus, sed consideratur secundum quod res in usum hominis veniunt. Et ideo non oportet quod venditor vel emptor cognoscat occultas rei venditae qualitates, sed illas solum per quas redditur humanis usibus apta, puta quod equus sit fortis et bene currat, et similiter in ceteris. Has autem qualitates de facili venditor et emptor cognoscere possunt. Reply to Objection 3. As Augustine says (De Civ. Dei xi, 16) the price of things salable does not depend on their degree of nature, since at times a horse fetches a higher price than a slave; 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, for instance, that the horse be strong, run well and so forth. Such qualities the seller and buyer can easily discover.
IIª-IIae q. 77 a. 3 arg. 1 Ad tertium sic proceditur. Videtur quod venditor non teneatur dicere vitium rei venditae. Cum enim venditor emptorem ad emendum non cogat, videtur eius iudicio rem quam vendit supponere. Sed ad eundem pertinet iudicium et cognitio rei. Non ergo videtur imputandum venditori si emptor in suo iudicio decipitur, praecipitanter emendo, absque diligenti inquisitione de conditionibus rei. Objection 1. It would seem that the seller is not bound to state the defects of the thing sold. Since the seller does not bind the buyer to buy, he would seem to leave it to him to judge of the goods offered for sale. Now judgment about a thing and knowledge of that thing belong to the same person. Therefore it does not seem imputable to the seller if the buyer be deceived in his judgment, and be hurried into buying a thing without carefully inquiring into its condition.
IIª-IIae q. 77 a. 3 arg. 2 Praeterea, stultum videtur quod aliquis id faciat unde eius operatio impediatur. Sed si aliquis vitia rei vendendae indicet, impedit suam venditionem, ut enim Tullius, in libro de Offic., inducit quendam dicentem, quid tam absurdum quam si, domini iussu, ita praeco praediceret, domum pestilentem vendo? Ergo venditor non tenetur dicere vitia rei venditae. Objection 2. Further, it seems foolish for anyone to do what prevents him carrying out his work. But if a man states the defects of the goods he has for sale, he prevents their sale: wherefore Tully (De Offic. iii, 13) pictures a man as saying: "Could anything be more absurd than for a public crier, instructed by the owner, to cry: 'I offer this unhealthy horse for sale?'" Therefore the seller is not bound to state the defects of the thing sold.
IIª-IIae q. 77 a. 3 arg. 3 Praeterea, magis necessarium est homini ut cognoscat viam virtutis quam ut cognoscat vitia rerum quae venduntur. Sed homo non tenetur cuilibet consilium dare et veritatem dicere de his quae pertinent ad virtutem, quamvis nulli debeat dicere falsitatem. Ergo multo minus tenetur venditor vitia rei venditae dicere, quasi consilium dando emptori. Objection 3. Further, man needs more to know the road of virtue than to know the faults of things offered for sale. Now one is not bound to offer advice to all or to tell them the truth about matters pertaining to virtue, though one should not tell anyone what is false. Much less therefore is a seller bound to tell the faults of what he offers for sale, as though he were counseling the buyer.
IIª-IIae q. 77 a. 3 arg. 4 Praeterea, si aliquis teneatur dicere defectum rei venditae, hoc non est nisi ut minuatur de pretio. Sed quandoque diminueretur de pretio etiam sine vitio rei venditae, propter aliquid aliud, puta si venditor deferens triticum ad locum ubi est carestia frumenti, sciat multos posse venire qui deferant; quod si sciretur ab ementibus, minus pretium darent. Huiusmodi autem non oportet dicere venditorem, ut videtur. Ergo, pari ratione, nec vitia rei venditae. Objection 4. Further, if one were bound to tell the faults of what one offers for sale, this would only be in order to lower the price. Now sometimes the price would be lowered for some other reason, without any defect in the thing sold: for instance, if the seller carry wheat to a place where wheat fetches a high price, knowing that many will come after him carrying wheat; because if the buyers knew this they would give a lower price. But apparently the seller need not give the buyer this information. Therefore, in like manner, neither need he tell him the faults of the goods he is selling.
IIª-IIae q. 77 a. 3 s. c. Sed contra est quod Ambrosius dicit, in III de Offic., in contractibus vitia eorum quae veneunt prodi iubentur, ac nisi intimaverit venditor, quamvis in ius emptoris transierint, doli actione vacuantur. On the contrary, Ambrose says (De Offic. iii, 10): "In all contracts the defects of the salable commodity must be stated; and unless the seller make them known, although the buyer has already acquired a right to them, the contract is voided on account of the fraudulent action."
IIª-IIae q. 77 a. 3 co. Respondeo dicendum quod dare alicui occasionem periculi vel damni semper est illicitum, quamvis non sit necessarium quod homo alteri semper det auxilium vel consilium pertinens ad eius qualemcumque promotionem, sed hoc solum est necessarium in aliquo casu determinato, puta cum alius eius curae subdatur, vel cum non potest ei per alium subveniri. Venditor autem, qui rem vendendam proponit, ex hoc ipso dat emptori damni vel periculi occasionem quod rem vitiosam ei offert, si ex eius vitio damnum vel periculum incurrere possit, damnum quidem, si propter huiusmodi vitium res quae vendenda proponitur minoris sit pretii, ipse vero propter huiusmodi vitium nihil de pretio subtrahat; periculum autem, puta si propter huiusmodi vitium usus rei reddatur impeditus vel noxius, puta si aliquis alicui vendat equum claudicantem pro veloci, vel ruinosam domum pro firma, vel cibum corruptum sive venenosum pro bono. Unde si huiusmodi vitia sint occulta et ipse non detegat, erit illicita et dolosa venditio, et tenetur venditor ad damni recompensationem. Si vero vitium sit manifestum, puta cum equus est monoculus; vel cum usus rei, etsi non competat venditori, potest tamen esse conveniens aliis; et si ipse propter huiusmodi vitium subtrahat quantum oportet de pretio, non tenetur ad manifestandum vitium rei. Quia forte propter huiusmodi vitium emptor vellet plus subtrahi de pretio quam esset subtrahendum. Unde potest licite venditor indemnitati suae consulere, vitium rei reticendo. I answer that, 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.
IIª-IIae q. 77 a. 3 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod iudicium non potest fieri nisi de re manifesta, unusquisque enim iudicat quae cognoscit, ut dicitur in I Ethic. Unde si vitia rei quae vendenda proponitur sint occulta, nisi per venditorem manifestentur, non sufficienter committitur emptori iudicium. Secus autem esset si essent vitia manifesta. Reply to Objection 1. Judgment cannot be pronounced save on what is manifest: for "a man judges of what he knows" (Ethic. 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.
IIª-IIae q. 77 a. 3 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod non oportet quod aliquis per praeconem vitium rei vendendae praenuntiet, quia si praediceret vitium, exterrerentur emptores ab emendo, dum ignorarent alias conditiones rei, secundum quas est bona et utilis. Sed singulariter est dicendum vitium ei qui ad emendum accedit, qui potest simul omnes conditiones ad invicem comparare, bonas et malas, nihil enim prohibet rem in aliquo vitiosam, in multis aliis utilem esse. Reply to Objection 2. 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.
IIª-IIae q. 77 a. 3 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod quamvis homo non teneatur simpliciter omni homini dicere veritatem de his quae pertinent ad virtutes, teneretur tamen in casu illo de his dicere veritatem quando ex eius facto alteri periculum immineret in detrimentum virtutis nisi diceret veritatem. Et sic est in proposito. Reply to Objection 3. Although a man is not bound strictly speaking to tell everyone the truth about matters pertaining to virtue, yet he is so bound in a case when, unless he tells the truth, his conduct would endanger another man in detriment to virtue: and so it is in this case.
IIª-IIae q. 77 a. 3 ad 4 Ad quartum dicendum quod vitium rei facit rem in praesenti esse minoris valoris quam videatur, sed in casu praemisso, in futurum res expectatur esse minoris valoris per superventum negotiatorum, qui ab ementibus ignoratur. Unde venditor qui vendit rem secundum pretium quod invenit, non videtur contra iustitiam facere si quod futurum est non exponat. Si tamen exponeret, vel de pretio subtraheret, abundantioris esset virtutis, quamvis ad hoc non videatur teneri ex iustitiae debito. Reply to Objection 4. The defect in a thing makes it of less value now than it seems to be: but in the case cited, the goods are expected to be of less value at a future time, on account of the arrival of other merchants, which was not foreseen by the buyers. Wherefore the seller, since he sells his goods at the price actually offered him, does not seem to act contrary to justice through not stating what is going to happen. If however he were to do so, or if he lowered his price, it would be exceedingly virtuous on his part: although he does not seem to be bound to do this as a debt of justice.
IIª-IIae q. 77 a. 4 arg. 1 Ad quartum sic proceditur. Videtur quod non liceat, negotiando, aliquid carius vendere quam emere. Dicit enim Chrysostomus, super Matth. XXI, quicumque rem comparat ut, integram et immutatam vendendo, lucretur, ille est mercator qui de templo Dei eiicitur. Et idem dicit Cassiodorus, super illud Psalm., quoniam non cognovi litteraturam, vel negotiationem secundum aliam litteram, quid, inquit, est aliud negotiatio nisi vilius comparare et carius velle distrahere? Et subdit, negotiatores tales dominus eiecit de templo. Sed nullus eiicitur de templo nisi propter aliquod peccatum. Ergo talis negotiatio est peccatum. Objection 1. It would seem that it is not lawful, in trading, to sell a thing for a higher price than we paid for it. For Chrysostom [Hom. xxxviii in the Opus Imperfectum, falsely ascribed to St. John Chrysostom] says on Matthew 21:12: "He that buys a thing in order that he may sell it, entire and unchanged, at a profit, is the trader who is cast out of God's temple." Cassiodorus speaks in the same sense in his commentary on Psalm 70:15, "Because I have not known learning, or trading" according to another version [the Septuagint]: "What is trade," says he, "but buying at a cheap price with the purpose of retailing at a higher price?" and he adds: "Such were the tradesmen whom Our Lord cast out of the temple." Now no man is cast out of the temple except for a sin. Therefore such like trading is sinful.
IIª-IIae q. 77 a. 4 arg. 2 Praeterea, contra iustitiam est quod aliquis rem carius vendat quam valeat, vel vilius emat, ut ex dictis apparet. Sed ille qui, negotiando, rem carius vendit quam emerit, necesse est quod vel vilius emerit quam valeat, vel carius vendat. Ergo hoc sine peccato fieri non potest. Objection 2. Further, it is contrary to justice to sell goods at a higher price than their worth, or to buy them for less than their value, as shown above (Article 1). Now if you sell a thing for a higher price than you paid for it, you must either have bought it for less than its value, or sell it for more than its value. Therefore this cannot be done without sin.
IIª-IIae q. 77 a. 4 arg. 3 Praeterea, Hieronymus dicit, negotiatorem clericum, ex inope divitem, ex ignobili gloriosum, quasi quandam pestem fuge. Non autem negotiatio clericis interdicenda esse videtur nisi propter peccatum. Ergo negotiando aliquid vilius emere et carius vendere est peccatum. Objection 3. Further, Jerome says (Ep. ad Nepot. lii): "Shun, as you would the plague, a cleric who from being poor has become wealthy, or who, from being a nobody has become a celebrity." Now trading would net seem to be forbidden to clerics except on account of its sinfulness. Therefore it is a sin in trading, to buy at a low price and to sell at a higher price.
IIª-IIae q. 77 a. 4 s. c. Sed contra est quod Augustinus dicit, super illud Psalm., quoniam non cognovi litteraturam, negotiator avidus acquirendi pro damno blasphemat, pro pretiis rerum mentitur et peierat. Sed haec vitia hominis sunt, non artis, quae sine his vitiis agi potest. Ergo negotiari secundum se non est illicitum. On the contrary, Augustine commenting on Psalm 70:15, "Because I have not known learning," [Cf. Objection 1 says: "The greedy tradesman blasphemes over his losses; he lies and perjures himself over the price of his wares. But these are vices of the man, not of the craft, which can be exercised without these vices." Therefore trading is not in itself unlawful.
IIª-IIae q. 77 a. 4 co. Respondeo dicendum quod ad negotiatores pertinet commutationibus rerum insistere. Ut autem philosophus dicit, in I Polit., duplex est rerum commutatio. Una quidem quasi naturalis et necessaria, per quam scilicet fit commutatio rei ad rem, vel rerum et denariorum, propter necessitatem vitae. Et talis commutatio non proprie pertinet ad negotiatores, sed magis ad oeconomicos vel politicos, qui habent providere vel domui vel civitati de rebus necessariis ad vitam. Alia vero commutationis species est vel denariorum ad denarios, vel quarumcumque rerum ad denarios, non propter res necessarias vitae, sed propter lucrum quaerendum. Et haec quidem negotiatio proprie videtur ad negotiatores pertinere. Secundum philosophum autem, prima commutatio laudabilis est, quia deservit naturali necessitati. Secunda autem iuste vituperatur, quia, quantum est de se, deservit cupiditati lucri, quae terminum nescit sed in infinitum tendit. Et ideo negotiatio, secundum se considerata, quandam turpitudinem habet, inquantum non importat de sui ratione finem honestum vel necessarium. Lucrum tamen, quod est negotiationis finis, etsi in sui ratione non importet aliquid honestum vel necessarium, nihil tamen importat in sui ratione vitiosum vel virtuti contrarium. Unde nihil prohibet lucrum ordinari ad aliquem finem necessarium, vel etiam honestum. Et sic negotiatio licita reddetur. Sicut cum aliquis lucrum moderatum, quod negotiando quaerit, ordinat ad domus suae sustentationem, vel etiam ad subveniendum indigentibus, vel etiam cum aliquis negotiationi intendit propter publicam utilitatem, ne scilicet res necessariae ad vitam patriae desint, et lucrum expetit non quasi finem, sed quasi stipendium laboris. I answer that, A tradesman is one whose business consists in the exchange of things. According to the Philosopher (Polit. i, 3), exchange of things is twofold; one, natural as it were, and necessary, whereby one commodity is exchanged for another, or money taken in exchange for a commodity, in order to satisfy the needs of life. Such like trading, properly speaking, does not belong to tradesmen, but rather to housekeepers or civil servants who have to provide the household or the state with the necessaries of life. The other kind of exchange is either that of money for money, or of any commodity for money, not on account of the necessities of life, but for profit, and this kind of exchange, properly speaking, regards tradesmen, according to the Philosopher (Polit. i, 3). The former kind of exchange is commendable because it supplies a natural need: but the latter is justly deserving of blame, because, considered in itself, it satisfies the greed for gain, which knows no limit and tends to infinity. Hence trading, considered in itself, has a certain debasement attaching thereto, in so far as, by its very nature, it does not imply a virtuous or necessary end. Nevertheless gain which is the end of trading, though not implying, by its nature, anything virtuous or necessary, does not, in itself, connote anything sinful or contrary to virtue: wherefore nothing prevents gain from being directed to some necessary or even virtuous end, and thus trading becomes lawful. Thus, for instance, a man may intend the moderate gain which he seeks to acquire by trading for the upkeep of his household, or for the assistance of the needy: or again, a man may take to trade for some public advantage, for instance, lest his country lack the necessaries of life, and seek gain, not as an end, but as payment for his labor.
IIª-IIae q. 77 a. 4 ad 1 Ad primum ergo dicendum quod verbum Chrysostomi est intelligendum de negotiatione secundum quod ultimum finem in lucro constituit, quod praecipue videtur quando aliquis rem non immutatam carius vendit. Si enim rem immutatam carius vendat, videtur praemium sui laboris accipere. Quamvis et ipsum lucrum possit licite intendi, non sicut ultimus finis, sed propter alium finem necessarium vel honestum, ut dictum est. Reply to Objection 1. The saying of Chrysostom refers to the trading which seeks gain as a last end. This is especially the case where a man sells something at a higher price without its undergoing any change. For if he sells at a higher price something that has changed for the better, he would seem to receive the reward of his labor. Nevertheless the gain itself may be lawfully intended, not as a last end, but for the sake of some other end which is necessary or virtuous, as stated above.
IIª-IIae q. 77 a. 4 ad 2 Ad secundum dicendum quod non quicumque carius vendit aliquid quam emerit, negotiatur, sed solum qui ad hoc emit ut carius vendat. Si autem emit rem non ut vendat, sed ut teneat, et postmodum propter aliquam causam eam vendere velit, non est negotiatio, quamvis carius vendat. Potest enim hoc licite facere, vel quia in aliquo rem melioravit; vel quia pretium rei est mutatum, secundum diversitatem loci vel temporis; vel propter periculum cui se exponit transferendo rem de loco ad locum, vel eam ferri faciendo. Et secundum hoc, nec emptio nec venditio est iniusta. Reply to Objection 2. Not everyone that sells at a higher price than he bought is a tradesman, but only he who buys that he may sell at a profit. If, on the contrary, he buys not for sale but for possession, and afterwards, for some reason wishes to sell, it is not a trade transaction even if he sell at a profit. For he may lawfully do this, either because he has bettered the thing, or because the value of the thing has changed with the change of place or time, or on account of the danger he incurs in transferring the thing from one place to another, or again in having it carried by another. On this sense neither buying nor selling is unjust.
IIª-IIae q. 77 a. 4 ad 3 Ad tertium dicendum quod clerici non solum debent abstinere ab his quae sunt secundum se mala, sed etiam ab his quae habent speciem mali. Quod quidem in negotiatione contingit, tum propter hoc quod est ordinata ad lucrum terrenum, cuius clerici debent esse contemptores; tum etiam propter frequentia negotiatorum vitia, quia difficiliter exuitur negotiator a peccatis labiorum, ut dicitur Eccli. XXVI. Est et alia causa, quia negotiatio nimis implicat animum saecularibus curis, et per consequens a spiritualibus retrahit, unde apostolus dicit, II ad Tim. II, nemo militans Deo implicat se negotiis saecularibus. Licet tamen clericis uti prima commutationis specie, quae ordinatur ad necessitatem vitae, emendo vel vendendo. Reply to Objection 3. Clerics should abstain not only from things that are evil in themselves, but even from those that have an appearance of evil. This happens in trading, both because it is directed to worldly gain, which clerics should despise, and because trading is open to so many vices, since "a merchant is hardly free from sins of the lips" ['A merchant is hardly free from negligence, and a huckster shall not be justified from the sins of the lips'] (Sirach 26:28). There is also another reason, because trading engages the mind too much with worldly cares, and consequently withdraws it from spiritual cares; wherefore the Apostle says (2 Timothy 2:4): "No man being a soldier to God entangleth himself with secular businesses." Nevertheless it is lawful for clerics to engage in the first mentioned kind of exchange, which is directed to supply the necessaries of life, either by buying or by selling.

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