Au nom de Dieu et du profit : le profit équitable selon Jan van Boendale
Faculty of Arts. History
Le moyen âge: revue d'histoire et de philologie. - Bruxelles
, p. 611-+
University of Antwerp
Historical research on what a just price should be has focused mainly on late medieval theological texts. However, in laic literature too, notions of the just price can be detected without the concept itself being mentioned. Instead of talking about the just price, Jan van Boendale asks questions about what a fair profit would be. Just like producing, the buying and selling of goods were a way of labouring that ought to be well rewarded, especially since it was in the common interest of the city. The pursuit of profit and the gathering of richness formed no ethical problem for this fourteenth-century Antwerp city clerk. Problems only arose when the greedy desire to gain more and more started to dominate consciousness and stimulated merchants or guild masters to start cheating. In response, Boendale stressed the stoic virtue of moderation as a remedy against greed. Still, this was not only a matter of achieving an honest profit. One also had to be moderate when giving alms, which was a reaction against popular preachers who overemphasised the state of sinfulness in which people lived.