Montesquieu

Ill-cons­ti­tu­ted aris­to­cracy has the mis­for­tune that the nobles have the wealth and yet must not spend ; luxury, oppo­sed to the spi­rit of mode­ra­tion, must be ban­ned from it. Therefore there are only very poor peo­ple, who can­not receive, and very weal­thy ones, who can­not spend.

In Venice, the laws hold the nobles to modesty. They have become so used to saving that cour­te­sans are the only ones who can make them give up money. This is the means used to main­tain indus­try ; the most repre­hen­si­ble of woman there spend without dan­ger, while their tri­bu­ta­ries lead the world’s most obs­cure lives.

The good Greek repu­blics had admi­ra­ble ins­ti­tu­tions in this res­pect. The rich used their money on feasts, cho­ru­ses, cha­riots, race hor­ses, and one­rous magis­tra­cies. Wealth was as much a bur­den there as poverty.