Thales Of Miletus And His Olive Press Monopoly - The Historian's Hut

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  • “The story is as follows: people had been saying reproachfully to him that philosophy was useless, as it had left him a poor man. But he, deducing from his knowledge of the stars that there would be a good crop of olives, while it was still winter and he had a little money to spare, used it to pay deposits on all the oil-presses in Miletus and Chios, thus securing their hire. This cost him only a small sum, as there were no other bidders. Then the time of the olive-harvest came, and as there was a sudden and simultaneous demand for oil-presses he hired them out at any price he liked to ask. He made a lot of money, and so demonstrated that it is easy for philosophers to become rich, if they want to; but that is not their object in life. Such is the story of how Thales gave proof of his cleverness” (The Politics, Book I, Bekker page 1259a).

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