Saturday, August 22, 2015

Ending Usury - A Historical Account

As my regular readers are well informed, receiving or paying interest of any amount for any period of time is a moral crime, with dire consequences in all instances.  I've not advocated outlawing it, merely de-legalizing it, that is make it no longer enforceable in law, like say gambling debts.  Then the economy would self-correct.

It has been pointed out to me such a correction has been recorded in history, in the book of Nehemiah.
Then I was very angry when I had heard their outcry and these words. I consulted with myself and contended with the nobles and the rulers and said to them, “You are exacting usury, each from his brother!” Therefore, I held a great assembly against them. I said to them, “We according to our abilityhave [b]redeemed our Jewish brothers who were sold to the nations; now would you even sell your brothers that they may be sold to us?” Then they were silent and could not find a word to say. Again I said, “The thing which you are doing is not good; should you not walk in the fear of our God because ofthe reproach of the nations, our enemies? 10 And likewise I, my brothers and my servants are lending them money and grain. Please, let us leave off this usury. 11 Please, give back to them this very day their fields, their vineyards, their olive groves and their houses, also the hundredth part of the money and of the grain, the new wine and the oil that you are exacting from them.” 12 Then they said, “We will give it back and will require nothing from them; we will do exactly as you say.”
The whole book is fascinating from this historical point of view, and a personal practical point of view. With the pro-usury (now called interest) arguments convincing almost everyone, there is no audience for eschewing usury.  At the same time, my experience of going staying away form paying or charging interest (no bond investments) certainly limits what I can do conventionally, but within these constraints remarkable alternatives emerge.

I will form time to time relate what some of these alternatives are, if not for the edification of readers, then at least to chronicle for myself.

Feel free to forward this by email to three of your friends.


Anonymous said...

Excellent book. Debtors were considered slaves back then and it is no different today.