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We’ve been to the moon; were on the verge of artificially creating life, yet we have made almost no progress on a question which most societies considered  a great danger – a destroyer of  nations -  the question of usury.

Even bringing up the matter invites pre-judgement

What should civilized society’s attitude be toward usury?

“Before the introduction of coined money the peasant farmer borrowed

commodities and repaid the loan in kind,  and … was probably able to

meet the obligation without great difficulty; but after the introduction of

coined money the situation became decidedly more difficult…he must

take a loan of money to purchase his necessary supplies at a time when

money was cheap and commodities dear. When a year of plenty came

and he undertook to repay the loan, commodities were cheap and money

was dear.” - Professor Clahoun

Unable to get out of debt, eventually bad weather or a poor harvest would

bring foreclosure on their land and even bind them into slavery. This

  enslavement grew to crisis proportions, when Solon came to Athens

rescue with his “Seisachtheia” or “shaking off” of burdens. Personal slavery

was no longer allowed as security for debts. He canceled such existing debt

contracts; and gave back land which had been seized. Farmers who had

been sold into slavery abroad by those to whom they owed money were

“bought” back and returned to Athens.

Several Hundred Years Later Aristotle (384-322 Bc) Formulated The Classical View Against Usury. Aristotle understood that money is sterile; it doesn’t beget more money the way cows  beget more cows.

He knew that “Money exists not by nature but by law” 

SO WE RETURN TO OUR INITIAL QUESTION: How should civilized society view usury?

 First I think we have to admit that we don’t have the full answer. But we do know parts

of it. We can see from Whipple’s example the impossibility of long term usury. Lets

reconsider some ideas from past wisdom on the matter. Don’t allow the interest to

ever exceed the principle. Ban compound interest. Require that the interest taker

be undertaking some real risk.

As far as a complete ban on usury, I’m not sure that is the answer either. I expect that

loans will continue to be made and interest will continue to be charged. But the

cannibalism as exists in the present system must stop. Perhaps we should remember

Solon’s great admonition in viewing this question: 

Nothing too much – all things in moderation 

                                                                                                               Stephen Zarlenga

First posted by Michael Grove on December 23, 2010 at 23:30 


Views: 38

Comment by Michael Grove on May 14, 2013 at 14:26

AND herein lies recession, raping profits syndrome, the breakdown of our world economy...

value has been lost in our exchanges; pitiful and, essentially, evil.

The TRUTH is sometimes ugly, but we made it so by our complacency and ignorance.

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