By Steven Johnstone
Content material: Haggling -- Measuring -- maintaining song -- Valuing -- participating -- Apportioning legal responsibility -- determining -- universal greek weights and measures
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Then he asked how much the statue of Hera cost. Even more, he answered. Then he saw his own statue, and ﬁguring that as the messenger of the gods and the god of proﬁt he would be highly valued, he asked the price. ”96 Buyers, too, could haggle about the quantity or quality of goods. Among his anecdotes, Machon recounts the following: Haggling 23 Chaerephon was once buying some meat. ”97 Although the verbal sparring here concerns not the price but the goods, it shows similar tactics. The seller resorts to a common saying to justify his position, while the buyer had to counter this with some arch words of his own.
122 While you can see such regulations as expressing a notion of a just proﬁt, they also have the effect of eliminating, or at least limiting, haggling. Some people took the iterative verbal exchanges of haggling as fundamentally fraudulent. Plato’s regulations of retail trade in Laws, book 11, offers a highly philosophical critique of haggling premised on the idea that things have real, objective, unchanging values. In presenting his laws about business transactions, he ﬁrst offers a law about ﬁnding buried treasure (913a–14a).
Changing the price, therefore, is evidence of fraud, lies, and kibdeleia and violates the general rule against trying to get what’s not yours because it misrepresents the real value of the object. ”123 Thus, Plato objects to the adulteration of the real value of an object through the practice of varying the price, as in haggling. Plato’s argument drew upon popular ideas about the relation of price to value. True, his critique of haggling conforms to his theory that the changeability of our world shows its unreality and inferiority, but others agreed with his critique of haggling.