onsdag 9 april 2008

Usury

I came across a nasty antisemitic video about usury recently, claiming at it was all because of the Jews and blaming them for causing the present economic troubles. It included a list of major banks which it claimed were mostly run by Jews.

The churches used to inveigh against usury but seem to have forgotten its significance. But the market in money is like a market in anything else, and if it is in short supply then people will pay to borrow it. There is something else going on underneath which creates the environment in which usury can flourish. If the conditions are present, then the thing will happen. Somebody will inevitably cash in on the opportunity.

The most important condition for usury is, I would suggest, the monopolisation of land through land enclosure, combined with the failure on the part of governments to collect the rent of land as public revenue. This causes the stock of money to flow towards landowners. It’s no use blaming any particular group of people. Even if they were all “disposed of”, which is probably what the makers of the video would want, the usury would continue. Perhaps putting blame on others could be a useful tactic to adopt by those who create and really benefit from the conditions in which usury can flourish.

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