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The Economic Role of the Greek City1.

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 September 2009


The economic role of the state is controversial, even after the collapse of communism and the election of New Labour. The demand that governments get off the backs of wealth-creators has barely diminished since the 1980s; but some still urge control of private and corporate greed in the public interest. There is no sign of such controversy in Greek antiquity; but I shall suggest that the practice of the cities depended on political considerations which reveal comparable principles. All governments, whatever their complexion, now accept some responsibility for general economic well–being, even if their actions may amount to little more than a claim that prosperity will ‘trickle down’ from top to bottom. Numerous functions which would now be identified as economic were performed by Greek cities; after brief preliminaries to set the economic scene, I shall explore them, and try to determine why they were undertaken.

Research Article
Copyright © The Classical Association 1999

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