XVIII.16 On civil laws among peoples who do not know the use of money

When a peo­ple does not have the use of money, nearly all the injus­ti­ces it knows are the result of vio­lence, and weak peo­ple by joi­ning toge­ther defend them­sel­ves against vio­lence. These are merely poli­ti­cal arran­ge­ments. But among a peo­ple where money is ins­ti­tu­ted, one is sub­ject to injus­ti­ces that result from deceit, and those injus­ti­ces may be com­mit­ted in a thou­sand ways. It is the­re­fore neces­sary to have good civil laws, which arise with the new means and varied man­ners of being mali­cious.

In coun­tries where there is no money, the thief steals only things, and things are never iden­ti­cal. In coun­tries where there is money, the thief steals signs, and signs are always iden­ti­cal. In the for­mer coun­tries nothing can be hid­den, because the thief is always car­rying with him the evi­dence to convict him ; it is just the oppo­site in the other coun­tries.