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Virtue of Generosity

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  • November 14, 2010
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Selfness is a virtue of humanity and generosity is an offshot of selfness. It is the virtue of bringing a smile onto other peoples faces. For the most part, it is good to be generous. In the Prince, Machiavelli argues that there are boundaries on when and to what extend a prince should be generous before his people take advantage of him or are no longer satisfied with his generosity and expect more from him. Through his text and my understanding of Machiavelli perspective on generosity you will be able to understand its meaning, how it works and when to use it.

In Machiavelli’s point of view being generous is a good quality but you must keep in mind that you are going to have to know how to distinguish how generous you are going to be. In order to be considered a generous ruler you must have a lavish public display.In order for that to happen a prince must raise taxes and squeeze money from his subjects This kind of generosity benefits few oppose to benefiting many. Therefore the real questions the prince should ask himself are who should he be generous to since he cannot be generous to everyone at the same time? Or should he be generous at all? If he considers being generous and squeezes out money from his subjects then his subjects will not be happy about this and will start despising him and looking at him like a poor king. Now if he is generous to the people, then he has to ask himself how generous can he be to his people before they start demanding more? In Machiavelli’s view if he is a wise king he will not mind being called stingy or a miser because stinginess is a vice that allows him to have power. If a prince is giving other peoples properties away then he can afford to be generous if he is using his own property and resources to be generous then he is not a wise king at all and will become hated, poor, or despised.

An important distinction that Machiavelli brings up is that generosity will not get a prince a reputation for...