In Poetics, Aristotle attacks remarks on the community of property made by his mentor, Plato in The Republic, stating that the practice of generosity, an important virtue, requires individual ownership of property. Most of the theorists seeking to abolish private property do so with the intention of abolishing the greed and selfishness that accompany private property. Aristotle argues, however, that these vices result from human wickedness and not from the mere existence of private property. Consequently, abolishing private property is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for eliminate vice.

Aristotle argues that if people were equal and equally wealthy, they would become lazy in their luxury, and that if people were equal and equally poor, they would quickly become discontented. Aristotle also points out that Plato is not clear on exactly what kind of ownership the farming class should have over its property. The history of many communist countries during the 20th century gave a great deal to support Aristotle’s claim that the abolition of private property alone is not enough to make people happy or virtuous.

Aristotle acknowledges the vices of greed and selfishness but suggests that education and moderation will eliminate them. He also makes the point that the important virtue of generosity would not be possible if there were no private property with which to be generous.

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