Usury

Of Usury, from Brant's Stultifera Navis (the Ship of Fools); woodcut attributed to Albrecht Dürer.

Usury from Medieval Latin usuria, "interest", or from Latin usura, "interest") originally was the charging of interest on loans; this included charging a fee for the use of money, such as at a bureau de change. In places where interest became acceptable, usury was interest above the rate allowed by law. Today, usury commonly is the charging of unreasonable or relatively high rates of interest. The term is largely derived from Christian religious principles; Riba is the corresponding Arabic term and ribbit is the Hebrew word.

The pivotal change in the English-speaking world seems to have come with the permission to charge interest on lent money: particularly the 1545 act "An Acte Agaynst Usurie" (37 H.viii 9) of King Henry VIII of England.

QuotesEdit

  • Those who devour usury will not stand except as stand one whom the Evil one by his touch Hath driven to madness. That is because they say: "Trade is like usury," but Allah hath permitted trade and forbidden usury. Those who after receiving direction from their Lord, desist, shall be pardoned for the past; their case is for Allah (to judge); but those who repeat (The offence) are companions of the Fire: They will abide therein (for ever).
    • Original: الَّذِينَ يَأْكُلُونَ الرِّبَا لاَ يَقُومُونَ إِلاَّ كَمَا يَقُومُ الَّذ
      يَتَخَبَّطُهُ الشَّيْطَانُ مِنَ الْمَسِّ ذَلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمْ قَالُواْ إِنَّمَا الْبَيْعُ
      مِثْلُ الرِّبَا وَأَحَلَّ اللّهُ الْبَيْعَ وَحَرَّمَ الرِّبَا فَمَن جَاءهُ مَوْعِظَةٌ
      مِّن رَّبِّهِ فَانتَهَىَ فَلَهُ مَا سَلَفَ وَأَمْرُهُ إِلَى اللّهِ وَمَنْ عَادَ
      يَمْحَقُ
    • The Qur'an (القرآن), Sura 2:275 (The Cow, سورة البقرة), See also: Islamic banking.
  • He that by usury and unjust gain increaseth his substance, he shall gather it for him that will pity the poor.
    • Proverbs 28:7-9.
  • No amount of money given in charity, nothing but the abandonment of this hateful trade, can atone for this great sin against God, Israel and Humanity.
  • If our nation can issue a dollar bond, it can issue a dollar bill. The element that makes the bond good, makes the bill good, also. The difference between the bond and the bill is the bond lets money brokers collect twice the amount of the bond and an additional 20%, whereas the currency pays nobody but those who contribute directly in some useful way. It is absurd to say that our country can issue $30 million in bonds and not $30 million in currency. Both are promises to pay, but one promise fattens the usurers and the other helps the people.
  • To borrow upon Usury, bringeth on Beggary.
  • To speak of a usurer at the table mars the wine.
  • And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' lend to 'sinners,' expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back.
  • For at least another hundred years we must pretend to ourselves and to everyone that fair is foul and foul is fair; for foul is useful and fair is not. Avarice and usury and precaution must be our gods for a little longer still. For only they can lead us out of the tunnel of economic necessity into daylight.
  • I, who ne'er
    Went for myself a begging, go a borrowing,
    And that for others. Borrowing's much the same
    As begging; just as lending upon usury
    Is much the same as thieving.
  • Usury lives in the pores of production, as it were, just as the gods of Epicurus lived in the space between the worlds.
    • Karl Marx, Capital, Volume III (1894), Chapter XXXVI, Pre-Capitalist Relationships, p. 598.
  • By means of the banking system the distribution of capital as a special business, a social function, is taken out of the hands of the private capitalists and usurers. But at the same time, banking and credit thus become the most potent means of driving capitalist production beyond its own limits, and one of the most effective vehicles of crises and swindle.
    • Karl Marx, Capital, Volume III (1894), Chapter XXXVI, Pre-Capitalist Relationships, p. 607.
  • Jewish usury was prohibited at common law, but no other.
    • Hale, C.B., Anonymous (1665), Hard. 420; reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 244. The source notes: "according to Lord Coke, all usury is unlawful.—2 Inst. 89 ; 3 Inst. 151".
  • The true spirit of usury lies in taking an unjust and unreasonable advantage of their fellow creatures.
    • Burnett, J., Earl of Chesterfield v. Janssen (1750), 2 Ves. Sen. 141; reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 244.
  • Profitless usurer, why dost thou use
    So great a sum of sums, yet canst not live?
    For having traffic with thy self alone,
    Thou of thy self thy sweet self dost deceive:
    Then how when nature calls thee to be gone,
    What acceptable audit canst thou leave?
  • Bartley: Why dost laugh, Frank?
    Ilford. To see that we and usurers live by the fall of young heirs, as swine by the dropping of acorns.

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

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Last modified on 15 April 2014, at 17:29