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political philosophy

Updated on March 19, 2011


All Banks do it, we do it sometimes but it wasn’t always like this. But still the greedy man feel is overwhelming even enough to practice usury.

Usury is the general term used when describing the borrowing of money with interest charged; many religions from Islam to Christianity condemn this practice but oddly enough these age old institutions have no voice in today’s society regarding the issue of usury. Whatever happened to people trading like goods for like goods and lending out of the kindness of their heart?

From a philosophical viewpoint, it seems that usury to some extent portrays the insatiable avarice all humans display. Conservatism is an ideology that is rooted in the flaws of man; after all the father of Conservatism, Edmund Burke, ultimately saw man as “flawed”, “greedy” and above all “individualistic”. With this, the use of usury is highly recommended by the conservatives as it adheres to mans own nature of greed and individuality and helps him prosper. But the question one must ask is ‘what good is usury doing?’, the Christian bible goes on to say in the Book of Deuteronomy, 23:20, ‘Unto a stranger thou mayest lend upon usury; but unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon usury: that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all that thou settest thine hand to in the land whither thou goest to possess it.’ Illustrating the discontent religions have with usury, in those day such practices would have been regarded almost as sacrilegious as they would have seen this act as defiance and discarding of God’s benevolence.

 Of course in modern society, we are used to the petite bourgeois taking as much as they want and everyone else getting very little, why you ask....well they have been doing it for a very long time, it has become the established norm. Banks are the biggest perpetrators of them all, instead of doing what it says on the tin and keeping and lending people’s money, we’ll have no qualms; but instead they insist charging the common man interest for using their services. Today there are more than five banks in each town almost worldwide; with this surely nations will be reduced to a ‘nation of beggars’ with crippling debt catching them in every corner and what is our governments doing about this....nothing at all. In 1997 during the Blair government saw a dramatic change to the handlings of interest rates, the government willing relinquished it power to set the rate of inflation and interest rates and bequeathed it to the Bank of England. Was that the right choice? Then why are we suffering now then?  


To finish, the use of usury was, by the ancient Greeks, regarded as the same thing as murder. Philosophers from Plato to Cato all shared the same view of usury, when asked “And what do you think of usury?” Marcus Porcius Cato (Cato the Elder) replied “What do you think of murder?". And now to think that governments are willing bequeathing their democratically elected power to set interest rate and inflation to Banks, and to make matters worse that we have just stood there and accepted it.


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    • Enock Vera profile image

      Enock Vera 5 years ago from Leicester, United Kingdom

      A healthy economy in our society does heavily depend on usury and exploitation. But there are other forms of economy that we are being denied due to the powers-that-be telling us that capitalism is the only way.

    • profile image

      Brendan 5 years ago

      What you don't mention is that in all these societies that condemned usury, once they got large enough, it was going on either underground through loan sharks or through backdoors like pawn shops. A healthy economy simply cannot survive without it.

    • Enock Vera profile image

      Enock Vera 6 years ago from Leicester, United Kingdom

      the thing is banks make to much profit from us, and we don't see a single penny of that money but we're constantly crippled by debt because of usury.

    • cathylynn99 profile image

      cathylynn99 6 years ago from northeastern US

      it's only fair to pay for the use of someone else's money. that's interest. some of the high rates, though, i would call usury.