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The Documents

Business and Ethics

John Locke, Two Treatises of Government:

The natural liberty of man is to be free from any superior power on earth, and not to be under the will or legislative authority of man, but to have only the law of nature for his rule.

But freedom of men under government is, to have a standing rule to live by, common to every one of that society, and made by the legislative power erected in it.

Man being born, as has been proved, with a title to perfect freedom, and an uncontrouled enjoyment of all the rights and privileges of the law of nature, equally with any other man, or number of men in the world, hath by nature a power, not only to preserve his property, that is, his life, liberty and estate, against the injuries and attempts of other men.

It [the legislative] is not, nor can possibly be absolutely arbitrary over the lives and fortunes of the people:

Their [legislative] power, in the utmost bounds of it, is limited to the public good of the society. It is a power, that hath no other end but preservation, and therefore can never have a right to destroy, enslave, or designedly to impoverish the subjects.

The supreme power cannot take from any man any part of his property without his own consent: for the preservation of property being the end of government, and that for which men enter into society, it necessarily supposes and requires, that the people should have property, without which they must be supposed to lose that, by entering into society, which was the end for which they entered into it; too gross an absurdity for any man to own.

Capital: Critical Analysis of Capitalist Production:

Kind of slim pickings, but these might work The battle of competition is fought by the cheapening of commodities.

Capital is money; capital is commodities. By virtue of it being value, it has acquired the occult ability to add value to itself.

Nature does not produce on the one side owners of money or commodities, and on the other men possessing nothing but their own labour-power.

As a matter of history, capital, as opposed to landed property, invariably takes the form at first of money; it appears as moneyed wealth, as the capital of the merchant and the usurer.

Adam Smith, Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations:

Little else is requisite to carry a state to the highest degree of opulence from the lowest barbarism, but peace, easy taxes, and a tolerable administration of justice.

The property which every man has is his own labour, as it is the origin and foundation of all other property, so it is the most sacred and inviolable.

It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.

The subjects of every state ought to contribute toward the support of the government, as nearly as possible, in proportion to their respective abilities; that is, in proportion to the revenue which they respectively enjoy under the protection of the state ...[As Henry Home (Lord Kames) has written, a goal of taxation should be to] ‘remedy inequality of riches as much as possible, by relieving the poor and burdening the rich.’

The Case of Dartmouth College:

It is not for judges to listen to the voice of persuasive eloquence or popular appeal. We have nothing to do, but to pronounce the law as we find it, and, having done this, our justification must be left to the impartial judgment of our country. —Justice Joseph Story

It is, in some sense, the case of every man among us who has property of which he may be stripped, for the question is simply this, ‘Shall our State Legislatures be allowed to take that which is not their own, to turn it from its original use, and apply it to such ends and purposes as they in their discretion shall see fit!’ —Attorney Daniel Webster

A College founded by an individual or individuals is a private charity, subject to the government and visitation of the founder, and not to the unlimited control of the government. —Justice Bushrod Washington

A corporation is an artificial being, invisible, intangible, and existing only in contemplation of law. Being the mere creature of law, it possesses only those properties which the charter of its creation confers upon it either expressly or as incidental to its very existence. —Justice John Marshall

Plato, Republic:

There can be no doubt that the love of wealth and the spirit of moderation cannot exist together in citizens of the same State to any considerable extent; one or the other will be disregarded.

And so they grow richer and richer, and the more they think of making a fortune the less they think of virtue; for when riches and virtue are placed together in the scales of the balance, the one always rises as the other falls.

Democracy, which is a charming form of government, full of variety and disorder, and dispensing a sort of equality to equals and unequals alike.

Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

...whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government...

That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do.

[We] solemnly Publish and Declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be, FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES.

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm Reliance on the Protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged:

Until and unless you discover that money is the root of all good, you ask for your own destruction.

Force and mind are opposites; morality ends where the gun begins.

A desire presupposes the possibility of action to achieve it; action presupposes a goal which is worth achieving.

I am, therefore I’ll think.

Niccolo Machiavelli, Prince:

I say that every prince should wish to be thought compassionate and not cruel... [but] a prince ought not to be troubled by the stigma of cruelty, acquired in keeping his subjects united and faithful.

There are two ways to fight. In one kind the laws are used, in the other, force. The first is suitable to man, the second to animals. But because the first often falls short, one has to turn to the second. Hence a prince must know perfectly how to act like a beast and like a man.

It is not necessary, then, for a prince really to have all the virtues mentioned...but it is very necessary to seem to have them...I mean that he should seem compassionate, trustworthy, humane, honest, and religious, and actually be so; but yet he should have his mind so trained that, when it is necessary not to practice these virtues, he can change to the opposite, and do it skillfully.

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