Front Page Titles (by Subject) QUESTION CXXXV.: OF PETTY ECONOMY. - Aquinas Ethicus: or, the Moral Teaching of St. Thomas, vol. 2 (Summa Theologica - Secunda Secundae Pt.2)
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QUESTION CXXXV.: OF PETTY ECONOMY. - St. Thomas Aquinas, Aquinas Ethicus: or, the Moral Teaching of St. Thomas, vol. 2 (Summa Theologica - Secunda Secundae Pt.2) 
Aquinas Ethicus: or, the Moral Teaching of St. Thomas. A Translation of the Principal Portions of the Second part of the Summa Theologica, with Notes by Joseph Rickaby, S.J. (London: Burns and Oates, 1892).
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OF PETTY ECONOMY.
Article I.—Is petty economy a vice?
R. The munificent man primarily intends the greatness of his work, and secondarily the greatness of his expense, which he does not shrink from, to make the work great. But the pettily economical man primarily intends the smallness of his expense, and consequently the paltriness of his work, an effect which he does not stick at, so that he can make the expense small. Thus then it is clear that the pettily economical man falls short of the proportion which there ought in reason to exist between expense and work. But a falling short of what is according to reason, brings about what answers to the idea of a vice. Hence it appears that petty economy is a vice.
§ 2. As the Philosopher says, “Fear makes people prone to consultation,” and therefore the pettily economical man diligently applies himself to accounts, because he has an inordinate fear of wasting his goods even in the least things. Hence this habit is not praiseworthy, but vicious and blamable, because the man does not direct his affection according to the reckoning of reason, but rather applies his powers of reckoning to serve the inordinateness of his affection.1
[1 ]A bit of character-painting, perhaps from life, not unworthy of Theophrastus or Clarendon. Aristotle (Ethics, IV. ii. 21.) has thus much of the μικροπρεπής: “The man of petty economies will be under the mark in everything. He will spoil the beauty of a costly work by sordidness in detail. Whatever he does, he does with hesitation, and much consideration how to cut down expense, and still will go lamenting and thinking that all he does is on too grand a scale.” The rest of the portrait is of St. Thomas’s own finding. (Trl.)