I spend a lot of time talking about how the left doesn’t understand economics. Today I am going to criticize those on the right who don’t understand money or economics. Let’s use a Christian who quotes the Bible when he claims that usury (the charging of interest) is a sin, and thus shouldn’t be permitted.

The outlawing of interest would stop all lending. Why would I loan you money and assume the risk of the borrower not paying it back. What is the upside? According to him, you would loan out this money because you are a nice person.

This is simply idiocy. He claims that the bank is making a profit on money that isn’t theirs, and besides money doesn’t actually exist.

There are reasons why it’s a bad idea to lend to people:

  • Default: A percentage of people won’t repay the loan. Charging interest makes up for that. If there is a 1% chance that a person will default, you need to charge more than 1% interest to compensate for that.
  • Loss of opportunity: Instead of loaning you that money, perhaps I could use it myself to repair my home, buy some clothes, or some other reason. If I am not charging interest, I would rather use my money for my purposes, not yours. Imagine the look you would get from the wife if you loaned $100,000 to a family so they could buy a house, then your kid needs braces. Then you explain to the wife that your kid can’t get braces because you loaned out the money that you had been saving.
  • Inflation: The $100 I lend you today will only be worth $80 or $90 tomorrow. I need to charge interest to compensate for that loss to inflation.

For the three reasons above, let’s say that you loan $1,000 out to 100 people. Your $100,000 is out there, and 1% of them never pay you back. The others take 5 years to pay you back. Now you have only $99,000, but that money is now only worth $48,000, thanks to inflation. You just lost the use of your money for 5 years, and half of it’s value.

But at least you can claim to be a “good Christian.”

The other part of his argument is that banks are lending money that belongs to their depositors, and because it isn’t theirs, they have no right to profit from that. This is a nonsensical argument. A retail store is selling goods that they purchase from others. A grocery store sells tomatoes that it buys from a farmer, beef from a rancher, etc. so that the consumer doesn’t have to go to ten different farmers to get their groceries, charging a fee for the convenience.

A bank operates the same way. They take small amounts of money from depositors, paying them interest for the use of their money, then loans out larger amounts, charging interest for the convenience of being able to buy a house or a car now, instead of having to wait years while saving to do it in cash. A bank is a retail store that sells money for a fee.

The claim that Christian societies functioned for thousands of years without banks is bullshit. First, people were largely living a subsistence lifestyle for a good part of that. Banks and money allow for society to have a division of labor: instead of having to build your own house, grow your own food, make your own clothes, etc., money allows a person to specialize in building houses, or farming, or fixing people’s teeth. You can sell that product or service and use some of it to pay people to do the other things, or make the products that you don’t. Part of that is money and money lending.

This is where Jewish people have gotten the hate and scorn from. Christian societies needed money lending, but couldn’t make it work because they were losing money in not charging interest. Along came the Jews, who weren’t prohibited from charging interest, and they made a pile of money providing bank lending services. It is people who had the “interest should be illegal” opinion that started all of the hate and discontent.

Saying that people who provide this service should do so for free is no different than claiming landlords shouldn’t charge rent, or that medical care should be free. It’s a nonsensical, childish argument. This argument is how you tell me that you don’t understand people, opportunity cost, or economics.

Categories: economics


it's just Boris · February 24, 2024 at 11:53 am

Islam also has a prohibition against charging interest.

There are multiple ways for “good” Muslims to get around the letter of the law, as both borrowers and lenders: Mudarabah (profit-sharing and loss-bearing), Wadiah (safekeeping), Musharaka (joint venture), Murabahah (cost-plus), and Ijara (leasing). (Courtesy Wikipedia.)

So, sure, go ahead and ban charging and paying interest. Or try to. Humans are good at uncovering and exploiting loopholes, and TR up there will still wind up shelling out more than he was given. If it amounts to the same thing in the end, calling it something different is pretty much sophistry.

As to the rest, well, God helps those who help themselves. TR can call me a bad Christian all he wants, but I’m not going to risk my family’s financial security without some form of compensation for that risk.

    JaimeInTexas · February 24, 2024 at 8:22 pm

    Also, to go along against paying interest is that if unable to pay the loan indentured you became.
    In the Old Testamen, you better not loan for longer than the remaining period of time until the next year of debt cancellation.
    Mathew 25:14-30 – Is the translation proper and the 2 servants invested?

SoCoRuss · February 24, 2024 at 12:41 pm

Jews taking advantage of the poor cuck Christians for thousands of years, tha’ts funny in so many ways. Since they are still cucks to them today.

The most dangerous groups to person freedom in this country are the usual leftist Demo commies, muzzies and various criminal south americans. But you should always include the Zealot Christians on the right, they are so brainwashed they will willing start WW 3 just so Jesus can come back and take them to heaven. I don’t fault Christians in general for their beliefs but the zealots are like zealot muzzies and bat shit crazy.They don’t get the idea that what if what they believe is wrong and its not true in the sense they believe it is or what if Jesus looks down on this mess and says Fuck That, I already died once for you fuckers. You made this mess YOU fix it this time or just sends another flood?
I was born in the south. Part of the southern baptist majorities, a bigger bunch of perverts and Reverend “Send me Money” con men than anyone can imagine. But DAM those preachers daughter were wild and Hot Hot HOT.
Now that I think about it. PRAISE the Lord for preachers daughters.

CRC · February 24, 2024 at 12:45 pm

You miss the point of Islamic banking. It’s that the lender is vested in the project he is lending to, he *has a stake* in its success, and thus receives a share of the profit. The loan is an investment, in other words, not a sterile exchange of funds. Usurious lending simply charges interest on the principle, and the loan is often, even usually given without concern for how the money is spent.

The Christian, which is to say Catholic, principle prior to the Renaissance and the rise of modern banking was exactly this. You couldn’t loan for consumption, the loan had to be associated with a fecund asset, like real estate or a business. The lender, that is to say investor, would receive return based upon the success of the endeavor financed.

Modern banking has completely abstracted and “sterilized” this relationship. It’s become in essence completely speculative, the goal is to immerse society in debt bondage, where usury cryptically enslaves everyone who is not of the capitalist cast with debt. Money breeds money, it is no longer a medium of exchange and store of value, but a weapon of metaphysical subjugation.

We stack debt upon debt, nearing the point of collapse. We approach the event horizon of late stage capitalism, where speculative lending sucks the economy and culture dry, leading to catastrophic implosion and the consildation of all asssets in the hands of the most masssive speculators. The biblical pattern of the debt jubilee should apply then, all debts incurred under the previous dispensation ought to be wiped away with the failed currency. What we may instead get is an attempt to double down on debt slavery, the imposition of pure fascism, “the great reset,” functionally universal communism where all wealth is controlled by these same plutocrats, administered by their technocratic woke gnostic luciferian nomenklatura..

Dan D. · February 24, 2024 at 1:14 pm

Jesus’ parable of the talents seems to collapse this guys dopey argument faster than a neutron star. I get there are undue interest rates and somehow those must be addressed. But saying Christians shouldn’t make a reasonable return on the stewardship of their investment is not even stupid, more like LARPing. Where does it end? No appreciation on your house? No switching jobs for more money? Its idiotic.

Polimath · February 24, 2024 at 1:42 pm

In Revelation, Jesus used the example of the good servant and the bad servant who hid the coins in the ground and did not even take the money to the market (bank system at the time) to earn interest.
It is not interest that is wrong it is the criminal compounding of that interest (Loan Sharking).
I think more than 1% of the borrowers would default.
Look at the sub prime mortgage scandal in the US. Folks who could never pay back the money borrowed on a 1 million dollar mansion lived it it for a while and defaulted the loan. So higher risk yep, higher interest. Slices both ways.

Steve · February 24, 2024 at 2:19 pm

Thanks. Gonna save this link. I spend inordinate amounts of time saying the same thing, one paragraph at a time. So many people don’t realize that his employer is issuing credit — paying him now for something the boss won’t get paid for until sometime in the future, or possibly never. His employer is paying for his rent and his groceries and his Netflix and Pronhub until someone else makes good on the investment, and the twit doesn’t have a sufficient grasp of reality to even be thankful.

And another thing (old man yelling at clouds), way too many people don’t realize that saving $40k for a downpayment is basically a test — can you live below your means long enough to trust you to pay your friggin’ bills. Just the slab itself cost (depending on where you live) $20k-$50k, and there’s not a single 2×4 standing yet. If you can’t save enough to even cover the slab, you are not a good credit risk, and should pay higher rates, assuming anyone is stupid enough to lend to you in the first place.

Elrod · February 24, 2024 at 2:25 pm

Too many people “just don’t understand how things work on this planet.”

Suppose Fred is a CPA; to become a CPA requires a substantial amount of schooling, from somewhere, and quite a bit of study to pass the CPA exam in state X. Fred has to charge a certain amount for his accounting/CPA services to recover his expenses and loss of income suffered during the education process on the path to become a CPA, and provide enough income to make it worthwhile to offer accounting/VCPA services. Don’t pay Fred enough, and he’ll give up the CPA gig and do something else.

Here’s where the IQ deficit occurs: Fred charges $50/hour for his accounting/CPA services. Fred needs his toilet repaired. Does it make sense for Fred to spend 3 hours researching what parts and tools he needs, buying them and repairing his toilet with them, or does it make more sense for Fred to spend those 3 hours earning $150 and paying George, a local plumber, $60 to fix his toilet?

That, and the time value of money, is nuclear physics for too many people.

    Steve · February 25, 2024 at 2:12 am

    He went over this about a week ago. The answer is maybe it makes sense, maybe not. If you are just sitting on your butt binge-watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Fred is not making $150. He might as well be learning a new skill. Sure, he misses out on a few episodes of Buffy, but has a new skill and the pride of having fixed it himself.

    On the other hand, if you value Buffy more than that, knock yourself out. Just don’t be expecting a handout when your retirement fund runs out and all you have on your resume is CPA and couch potato.

      Divemedic · February 25, 2024 at 9:19 am

      Everything is a cost/benefit analysis. If I work a single shift of overtime, I can make over $1,000.
      I don’t mow my lawn because it’s more efficient for me to pay someone to do what is essentially unskilled labor. I *could* mow my own grass, but the 8-10 hours a month I would spend doing it could be better utilized enjoying my time off, or if I really need the funds that badly, I can always pick up an extra shift and earn far more.
      Similarly, I just paid someone to refloor my old house. The time it would take to learn how to properly lay flooring and then do the job isn’t as effective in terms of time as it is to simply pay someone to do it. It isn’t worth my time to spend months learning how to lay flooring just to get one house floored. I am not going to do that for a living, so why would I waste a large amount of time learning a skill that I will only use two or three times in my life, only to see myself not doing as a good of a job as hiring a guy with years of experience.

hh465 · February 24, 2024 at 3:06 pm

The prohibition against usury in the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, is not a general prohibition. It is a prohibition against doing so within the family or clan and with the poor. If you read the scriptures referring to usury, the admonition often also includes taking profit from transactions. The bottom line is that you should treat brothers differently than strangers. So, for instance, Deuteronomy 23 states:
“You shall not charge interest on loans to your brother, interest on money, interest on food, interest on anything that is lent for interest. You may charge a foreigner interest, but you may not charge your brother interest, that the Lord your God may bless you in all that you undertake in the land that you are entering to take possession of it.”

Similarly, in the parable of the talents, Jesus quotes the Master speaking to the servant who hid his talent:

“Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest.”

The more general statements about lending in the New Testament are in the context of treating others like your “brother.” In those cases usury is improper because it enters that arena of personal relationships.

As an aside, this is a common problem with hermaneutics in the New Testament. The message of Jesus is profoundly *personal* and individual, not general and societal. Extending His commands as societal laws is often a mistake. Jesus cared nothing about political and cultural constructs. A perfect example of this orientation is seen in Paul’s letter to Philemon. Paul is returning Onesimus, an runaway slave, to his owner Philemon. Paul does not rail against slavery, he does not say that we should change society, etc. Paul instead says that the relationship between Philemon and Onsesimus is defined by their personal relationship as fellow Christians, and thus the fact that Onesimus is Philemon’s slave is fundamentally irrelevant and merely a social construct they need to work around. This is the problem with all the “liberation” type theologies — they turn this on its head and make it all about society and not about the individual.

Similarly, lending at interest is a problem among people who have personal relationships, when applied to the poor (where it is exploitative), and when one wants to treat others *as if* they were brothers/kin. But then, so is profit-making in general. And it always has been. It is not a problem with respect to impersonal business transactions among strangers.

    JaimeInTexas · February 25, 2024 at 8:37 am

    Good points.

Exile1981 · February 24, 2024 at 6:02 pm

The bible forbids Ursury, the charging of excessive interest. I take that to me not charging rates that are impossible to pay back, say 15-20% or so. By the same token, if your such a high risk that the only loan you can get us that high then you need to look at your life
The tora only bars Jews from usury on loans to other Jews.

Noway2 · February 25, 2024 at 12:53 am

The problem isn’t interest, per say. Interest is just the “work” of money over time. The problem is the artificial interest rates being set by a certain Jewish banking cartel. The same cartel “printed” trillions of dollars and gave it to their cronies,e.g. blackrock, resulting in massive “Inflation” or rather the devaluation of your dollars worth. Now these same fucking Jews want to claim the solution to problem they caused is to “raise interest rates”. So, now the squeezed consumer gets hit even harder trying to make ends meet, hile the banks rake in record profits. It’s absolute bullshit on its face.

Steve · February 25, 2024 at 10:31 am

Interest is not money “working” in any sense. It’s simply the premium one is willing to pay to have a thing today instead of when you can afford it tomorrow. People can and do save up to buy a new automobile and end up paying no interest. Delayed gratification is the term for it.

It is only sort of true that it’s the Fed’s fault. At root, it’s Congress’ fault. (And now Biden’s, because he spends without authorization and the other branches aren’t bothering to stop him.) Congresscritters are the ones who cannot control their spending. The Fed just makes a bad situation worse.

    Divemedic · February 25, 2024 at 12:24 pm

    That’s because Congress is borrowing money, too. Why would a bank lend to you at 4%, when they can lend to the government at 5.3%, which is the current I bond rate, especially considering that (for now) the government is not seen as likely to default.

Ultramaroon · February 26, 2024 at 9:06 am

Even though Christian dispensationalists do draw a distinction between Israel and the Church, there is little written in the New Tesament about usury specifically, and there is much written in the New Testament about avoiding debt, lending with no expectation to be paid back at all, charitable giving, refusing to serve Mammon, and debt forgiveness. What little is written in the NT specifically about lending money at interest is in Jesus’ parable of the talents (“…you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest.”). Even that parable is about potential followers of Jesus becoming faithful servants of His and not literal money-lending at interest. And yes, I know that Christ Himself said, “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” The Law is not cancelled, and there was some strife in the early Church about the extent to which new Christian converts should be required to observe the whole Law (see Acts chapter 15). After all, Gentiles were not required to observe the Law, except “You must abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals, and from sexual immorality”. Saint Paul treats the Law versus Grace and Jew versus Gentile issues all through the Book of Romans. Toward the end, he concludes, “I am convinced and fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean. “If your brother is distressed by what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy your brother, for whom Christ died.” Though the dietary laws are what’s being treated here, the context includes circumcision and all the works of the law; “For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the law.” Christians are not forbidden to lend or borrow, even to lend or borrow at interest. But we should not carry personal debt, should give charitably, and should consider all the things of this current wicked World system to be impediments to our sanctification.

McChuck · February 27, 2024 at 5:39 am

I agree that hard earned money should be invested, not merely given away. However…

Banks do not merely loan out depositor’s money these days. They loan out 100 times what they have on deposit. They are loaning money that doesn’t exist, then charging interest on the non-existent money. The only real money in the transaction is the interest payments. If you default on a loan, the only thing the bank loses is the unpaid future interest revenue stream.

This is usury. There is zero risk to the bank. The borrower assumes 100% of the risk. The bank enforces this through the courts and the sheriff’s office.

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