David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Journal of Business Ethics 72 (1):1 - 15 (2007)
Usury is a concept often associated more with religiously based financial ethics, whether Christian or Islamic, than with the secular world of contemporary finance. The problem is compounded by a tendency to interpret riba, prohibited within Islam, as both usury and interest, without adequately distinguishing these concepts. This paper argues that in Christian tradition usury has always evoked the notion of money demanded in excess of what is owed on a loan, disrupting a relationship of equality between people, whereas interest was seen as referring to just compensation to the lender. Although it is often claimed that hostility towards ‘usury’ has been in retreat in the West since the protestant Reformation, we would argue that the crucial break came not with Calvin, but with Jeremy Bentham, whose critique of the arguments of Adam Smith, upholding the reasonableness of the laws against usury, led to the abolition of the usury laws in England in 1854. There has to be a role for law, whether Islamic or secular, in regulating financial relationships. We argue that by retrieving the necessary distinction between demanding usury as illegitimate predatory lending and interest as legitimate compensation, we can discover common ground behind the driving principles of financial ethics within both Islamic and Christian tradition that may still be of relevance today. By re-examining past ethical discussions of the distinction between usury and just compensation, we argue that the world’s religious traditions can make significant contributions to contemporary debate.
|Keywords||usury Interest Bible Islamic finance middle ages predatory lending religion financial ethics|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
John W. Baldwin (1970). Masters, Princes, and Merchants the Social Views of Peter the Chanter & His Circle. Monograph Collection (Matt - Pseudo).
Citations of this work BETA
Domènec Melé (2016). Re-Thinking Capitalism: What We Can Learn From Scholasticism? Journal of Business Ethics 133 (2):293-304.
Similar books and articles
Karl Bode (1943). Interest and Usury. Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 18 (4):756-758.
P. Sedgwick (1996). Book Reviews : Economics in the Medieval Schools: Wealth, Exchange, Value, Money and Usury According to the Paris Theological Tradition 1200-1350, by O. Langholm. Leiden, Brill, 1992. 633 Pp. Hb. No Price. [REVIEW] Studies in Christian Ethics 9 (1):94-98.
J. L. O'Donovan (2001). The Theological Economics of Medieval Usury Theory. Studies in Christian Ethics 14 (1):48-64.
Arthur Eastwood (1893). Book Review:The Ethic of Usury and Interest. W. Blissard. [REVIEW] Ethics 3 (3):403-.
Alyssa Labat & Walter E. Block (2012). Money Does Not Grow on Trees: An Argument for Usury. [REVIEW] Journal of Business Ethics 106 (3):383-387.
Simon Ravenscroft (2011). Usury In The Inferno: Auditing Dante's Debt To The Scholastics. Comitatus 42:89-114.
Martin Lewison (1999). Conflicts of Interest? The Ethics of Usury. Journal of Business Ethics 22 (4):327 - 339.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads30 ( #128,410 of 1,792,244 )
Recent downloads (6 months)2 ( #345,572 of 1,792,244 )
How can I increase my downloads?