Re: [ox-en] extrinsic motivation = coercion
- From: Smári McCarthy <smari anarchism.is>
- Date: Wed, 06 May 2009 00:37:46 +0000
Actually, they are originally the same. The term "usury" comes from
latin "usura", meaning "interest". As per Wikipedia, at the first
council of Nicaea in 325, usury was taken to mean "interest of any kind".
In most religious texts usury is taken to mean the same as interest and
is downright forbidden. In the Torah, "If thou lend money to any of My
people, even to the poor with thee, thou shalt not be to him as a
creditor; neither shall ye lay upon him interest." (Exodus, 22:25). See
also Leviticus 26:36-37, Deuteronomy 23:19, Nehemiah 5:1-10, Psalm 15:6,
Isiah 24:2, Ezekiel 22:12-22, and so on... My favorite scripture on this
topic is from Ezekiel 18:13:
"If he has exacted usury Or taken increase -- Shall he then live? He
shall not live! If he has done any of these abominations, He shall
surely die; His blood shall be upon him."
(I mention this to bankers who claim to be Christian and hilarity ensues.)
There's more on this at
The Qur'an is pretty strict about this too:
"And for practicing usury, which was forbidden, and for consuming the
people's money illicitly. We have prepared for the disbelievers among
them painful retribution." (Al-Nisa 4:161)
"O you who believe, you shall not take usury, compounded over and over.
Observe God, that you may succeed." (Al-'Imran 3:130)
and so on.
If we go farther back, Sumerians had run-ins with usury... Urukagina
[c.a. 2800-2300 b.c.] apparently "freed the inhabitants of Lagash from
usury, burdensome controls, hunger, theft, murder, and seizure (of their
property and persons). He established freedom. The widow and the orphan
were no longer at the mercy of the powerful man." (see Urukagina
inscriptions, dead tree format at this side but seems googlable. e.g.
Now, to reach back to the beginnings of this debate, notice that the
initial segregation between usury and interest begin to happen in the
late 5th century in Europe at the behest of the Catholic Church, which
is apparently becoming so rich and powerful that it's becoming annoying
for them to not become more rich and powerful by cheating people. As per
the aforementioned Council of Nicaea, the clergy was forbidden to
perform acts of usury. However, later, it became acceptable for them to
"take interest but not usury" - and likewise translations changed at the
same time. In fact, even the most recent translation of the Bible into
Icelandic (date 2006 or so) is much more tolerant towards lending at
interest than the previous translation (since 1815): instead of saying
"lán gegn vöxtum" it says "lán gegn okurvöxtum" in one place;
"okurvextir" meaning "extreme interest" while "vextir" means interest...
To summarize: Interest and usury were the same thing originally, and are
still the same thing etymologically and rightfully, and I for one use
them as synonyms. However, there's been a lot of work put into diverging
the two terms in order to, well, make it acceptable to religious freaks
who think that as long as they bend the meaning of words enough their
god won't kill them. If only we were so lucky.
[It should be noted that I am a militant atheist.]
Diego Saravia wrote:
[Converted from multipart/alternative]
2009/5/5 Christoph Reuss <crox iac-research.ch>
Diego Saravia wrote:
for you is the same usury and interest?
Not the same, but in practice, interest often results in usury, e.g. in
rents or in banking schemes (e.g. difference between borrower and lender
interest rates by a factor of 40 or so (0.25% vs. 10%).
ok, I agreee with that
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