* What is Capitalism
* Does Capitalism work?
* The Morality of Capitalism
* The conditions under witch Capitasm works.
Yaron Brook at The Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights.
"The love of money is the root of all evil." (Timothy 6:10)CÁMĂTĂ, camete, s.f. Dobândă (excesivă) pe care o ia cămătarul pentru sumele date cu împrumut. Dex'98
Jesus: 'If you have money, do not lend it at interest, but give [it] to one from whom you will not get it back." (Gospel St Thomas, V95)
"Unto a stranger thou mayest lend upon usury; but unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon usury: that the Lord thy God may bless thee in all that thou settest thine hand to in the land whither thou goest to possess it."( Torah: Chapter 23, verse 20)
Plutarch - Against Debt & Borrowing upon Usury
Plato in his Laws permits not any one to go and draw water from his neighbor's well, who has not first digged and sunk a pit in his own ground till he is come to a vein of clay, and has by his sounding
experimented that the place will not yield a spring. For the clay or potter's earth, being of its own nature fatty, solid, and strong, retains the moisture it receives, and will not let it soak or pierce through.
But it must be lawful for them to take water from another's ground, when there is no way or means for them to find any in their own; for the law ought to provide for men's necessity, but not favor their laziness. Should there not be the like ordinance also concerning money; that none should be allowed to borrow upon usury, nor to go and dive into other men's purses, as it were into their wells and fountains, before they have first searched at home and sounded every means for the obtaining it; having collected (as it were) and gathered together all the gutters and springs, to try if they can draw from them what may suffice to supply their most necessary occasions?
But on the contrary, many there are who, to defray their idle expenses and to satisfy their extravagant and superfluous delights, make not use of their own, but have recourse to others, running themselves deeply into debt without any necessity. Now this may easily be judged, if one does but consider that usurers do not ordinarily lend to those which are in distress, but only to such as desire to obtain somewhat that is superfluous and of which they stand not in need. So that the credit given by the lender is a testimony sufficiently proving that the borrower has of his own; whereas on the contrary, since he has of his own, he ought to keep himself from borrowing.
Sikhism, although a faith that has come into existence much more recently in comparison, rejects the principle of taking what does not belong to you. Says Nanak. "To grasp what is another's is as evil as pig's flesh to the Muslim and cow's flesh to the Hindu. The Teacher shall intercede for his follower, only when he has not eaten carrion." (Adi Granth, Var Majh, M.1, p. 141)
Taoism, another modern religion states in the text :"Banish skill, discard profit, And thieves and robbers will disappear." [ Ch. 19] Theft, according to Wilson , means to take property that belongs to another or to the public. This encompasses fraud, usury, extortion, and dishonest trading.
Likewise, Confucianism is indicative in its text of a disliking of unjust transactions. "The Master said: 'The gentleman is familiar with what is right, just as the small man is familiar with profit.'" [ 4:16 ]
Islam of course does not allow riba - interest - in any case, even if it has not been accepted by Muslims countries throughout the world. According to Imam Ali, "If someone comes to you for a loan, he comes out of need. If I loan you money and I find that you have difficulty paying me back, Islam encourages me to forgive the debt. God will reimburse me."
Plato, Aristotle, Catos, Cicero, Seneca and Plutarch all condemned usury in one form or another (Birnie, 1958) . Their synchronized stance in the civil law can be seen, for example, from the Lex Genucia reforms in Republican Rome (340 BC) which outlawed interest altogether. Furthermore, to these ancient philosophical thinkers, modern reformists too can be included amongst those who rejected interest.
Adam Smith, despite being the father of free-market capitalism and advocating laissez-faire economics, strongly desired controlling usury (Jadlow, 1977; Levy, 1987) . Although he opposed full elimination of interest, he favoured the nuisance of an interest rate ceiling, to ensure that low-risk borrowers likely to employ socially beneficial investments, were not disadvantaged as a result of "the greater part of the money which was to be lent to prodigals, who alone would be willing to give an unregulated high interest rate" (Smith, 1937: 339).
Similarly, the great twentieth century economist John Maynard Keynes believed:"the disquisitions of the school men [on usury] were directed towards elucidation of a formula which should allow the schedule of the marginal efficiency to be high, whilst using rule and custom and the moral law to keep down the rate of interest, so that a wise Government is concerned to curb it by statute and custom and even by invoking the sanctions of the Moral Law" (1936: 351-3).
|Alexander listening to Aristotle, his teacher in Mieza.|
..described usurers as wretched, vulture-like, and barbarous... In Roman culture, Seneca condemned usury for the same reasons as Aristotle; Cato the Elder famously compared usury to murder; and Cicero wrote that 'these profits are despicable which incur the hatred of men, such as those of . . . lenders of money on usury'.
Plutarch, Plutarch's Morals, W Watson Goodwin (Boston: Little, Brown, Company, 1874), pp. 412-24.
Lewis H. Haney, History of Economic Thought (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1920), p. 71.
Anthony Trollope, Life of Cicero (Kessinger Publishing, 2004), p. 70.