The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Xenophon (c430 BC–c355 BC)

  • Henry W. Spiegel
Reference work entry


Xenophon was a disciple of Socrates who made a name for himself as a military and political leader. Although he was a man of action rather than a philosopher, he wrote on many subjects and some of his writings touch on economic matters – the division of labour, management, the nature of wealth, public finance, and the relationship between gold and silver. In the Cyropaedia, a work ostensibly devoted to the education of a prince, Xenophon comments on the excellence of the king’s table, where everything is prepared by specialists. He then goes on to elaborate this thought, stresses the advantages of the division of labour as far as the quality of goods is concerned, and makes the division of labour limited by the extent of the market:

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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Henry W. Spiegel
    • 1
  1. 1.