For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

Memorabilia. Oeconomicus. Symposium. Apology

by Xenophon (1997)

Key Passage

(Oeconomicus) “Well, I won’t go on to ask whether anything more is needed in your man, after you have implanted in him a desire for your prosperity and have made him also careful to see that you achieve it, and have obtained for him, besides, the knowledge needed to ensure that every piece of work done will add to the profits, and further, have made him capable of governing, and when besides all this, he takes as much delight in producing grand harvests for you in due season as you would take if you did the work yourself. For it seems to me that a man like that would make a very valuable foreman. Nevertheless, Ischomachus, please don’t neglect the point that we have merely touched on in our discussion.” “Which point?” asked Ischomachus. “You said, I believe, that the greatest lesson to learn is how each job ought to be done; and you added that if a man doesn’t know what to do and how to do it, no good can come of his management.”  (p.509)


Xenophon, Ancient Greece, Knowledge, Education, Learning, Virtue, Profit, Farming, Agriculture


Xenophon Citations, Ancient Greece

Links to Reference


E. C. Marchant and O. J. Todd



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