Saturday, March 27, 2010

How should Buddhists view usury?

What's a Buddhist to make of usury? Me, I think it's as wicked as a thing can be but what the hell would I know? I admit I am the world's dodgiest Buddhist, one entirely of my own invention. So never mind me, what do real Buddhists have to say on the subject? Or more exactly what did the Buddha say? In answer to this question it seems you have to take your pick between 'not much' and 'nothing'.

On searching, one very quickly arrives at the super-famous Noble Eightfold Path. The Eightfold Path is to Buddhism what the ten commandments are to Christianity, or Judaism, or whatever it was they pinched it from - the Book of the Dead was it? Anyway, the Eightfold Path is that variety of list-of-rules that I was trying to do away with when I came up with my genius continuum just up to the right here. But never mind, here is the Eightfold Path -
1 Right View
2 Right Thought
3 Right Speech
4 Right Bodily Action
5 Right Livelihood
6 Right Effort
7 Right Mindfulness
8 Right Concentration
For the record I'll state that whilst the Noble Eightfold Path urges one to ethical behaviour, it does so primarily to serve the Four Noble Truths under which it lies. That is to say that the Eightfold Path resembles societal rules but they are only so insofar as one following the rules will hopefully see all of his relationships as harmonious ones and from within this state more readily leave suffering behind ...kind of thing. Like I said, no great expert, me.

But nevermind the big samsara picture, I'm here to wonder at usury. And the part of the Eightfold Path where usury gets a guernsey is Right Livelihood.
5. Right livelihood (sammá-ájíva): abstaining from a livelihood that brings harm to other beings, such as trading in arms, in living beings, intoxicating drinks, poison, slaughtering, fishing, soldiering, deceit, treachery, soothsaying, trickery, usury, etc.
That seems pretty clear cut doesn't it? Not if you ask this Singaporean monk. His first stab at the subject goes through a handful of the great number of historical condemnations of usury (mostly Christian) but dismisses them on the entirely spurious basis that since some Christians spend their time condemning other silly things, then there's probably not much to it. Or something. Which is all very well but what if a Christian is standing next to a well and condemning it as poisoned? Um... do we drink up? Or not? He then takes up the subject again, this time focusing on the peccant word itself and wondering at its translation. It seems the precise translation from the original Pali is actually pursuing gain upon gain. To which one would have to ask, 'Yes, but what does that mean?' Says our Singaporean monk, probably not usury, it's probably just don't be overly greedy. Hmm... perhaps it's just me, but I find that all a bit soft and ploppy.

First up there's the nature of translations. Perhaps the phrase pursue gain upon gain is in fact the Pali for usury. It's possible. The Chinese/Japanese character for firework transliterates as flower fire. Okay, now picture that as a dead language for a culture that no longer exists and with us two thousand years removed. Then imagine an argument over the meaning of the following: During the Summer festival people would gather to watch the flower fires. Anyone declaring they knew what that was would be doing it on the merest of say-so. Mind you, our usury argument would be settled for sure if we knew the Pali for usury and could say that pursue gain upon gain is not that. But we don't - all we know is that in all of the texts usury/gain-upon-gain/whatever-you-want-to-call-it cops a single mention.

Not forgetting the flipside to this of course: Surely the speakers of Pali had a word for greedy, yes? It's a simple word well within the vocab of three year olds. So, if they wanted to say 'don't be greedy' wouldn't they just say, 'don't be greedy'? Why use some convoluted, ambiguous phrase rather than the obvious?

I ask the question about the translation here because when it comes to usury, confusion as to meaning is par for the course. For instance, what does usury mean in English? Is it (a la the bible) the charging of any interest at all? Or is it (a la modern dictionaries) the charging of too much interest? Webster's 1913 dictionary has the former as the first and the second meaning and the latter as the third. Curiously it's now the other way around. That publishers have chosen to alter its meaning over the decades may tell us about the nature of usury, or it may tell us about the nature of publishers. And what with precisely such an evolution taking place in the Oxford University Press's religion defining Schofield Bible, I'd put my money on the latter.

And then there's Islam. In Islam (cue the understatement...) they have a lot to say about usury. But here too things get curly. To translate usury into Arabic isn't as straightforward as one might think. Their word riba is usury ...but not quite. Technically it's defined as surplus value without counterpart. Does that make things clear? Hardly - arguments about what does and doesn't qualify as riba are endless. But regardless, here's one of the Quran's many proscriptions against usury -
Those who believe do not eat up riba doubled and redoubled (Quran 3:130)
Gee whiz. It sounds a lot like gain upon gain doesn't it? Otherwise, what is compound interest if not gain upon gain? No quibbling about the difference between interest and compound interest now - a single missed payment and the former becomes the latter.

So! In choosing which translation to go with, our Singaporean monk gives usury the benefit of the doubt. As do the people at the Buddhism A to Z page he refers us to. Says they, since it's legitimate to hire out one's ox, one's skills, or one's house, so it should also be legitimate to hire out one's money. Excellent! I'm sure those good people won't mind if I sink my teeth into this argument and give it a good chew will they?

Hands up everyone who can spot the odd man out amongst my ox, my time, my house, and my money. Sure enough the first three degrade with time. As more time passes there is 'less' of each thing: my ox is more arthritic, my house is more rickety, and me and my time? Gone - like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives, ha ha ha. Money on the other hand is magically possessed of eternal youth. It pains me to say this to a Buddhist authority, but the truth of all things must pass somehow fails to apply with money. I'll admit that with the passing of time money might buy less but believe it or not this isn't actually an argument against any of the above. Truth be known it's merely another usury-puncturing arrow in my quiver. But I'll come back to that.

Money is one thing, but money lent is another. Somehow debt is possessed of its own deathless voodoo. Contrived intangibles aside, everything that can be bought can pass from this world with the twinkling of an eye, but the money one borrowed to buy it with will remain as evergreen as the day it was minted. Financial armageddon can fall, with the value of everything turning to smoke, and yet somehow in amongst the carnage, debt and debt alone, magically remains inviolate. Indeed as more time passes after such an armageddon, debt, like some unholy thing from a perverse universe where time runs backwards, will only become greater.

Coming back to the ox and the house etc. where does that argument stand in the face of the fact that money is made out of thin air? When the privately owned reserve banks lend money to their respective governments (as is the case in every modern economy) they do not do so with money that they carefully saved over time and thus have sitting around waiting to be lent. Rather they simply declare that they have it (by entering the figure x billions into their computer) and they then 'lend' this sum to their respective governments. That may be hard to believe I know, but it's a simple cold hard fact. That is how it's done. Same-same when the IMF and World Bank provide 'bailouts' to various third world countries. Astoundingly each of these click-of-the-finger debts incur interest, which along with the principal must be paid in real world blood and treasure.

Oh, and that aforementioned devaluing of money? There's two strands to this. The first pivots on inflation wherein money buys less over time. Surely, one might ask, a lender needs interest in order to have the same purchasing power a year down the track when the debt is repaid? This will astound many people I know but this logic has the causality arse-about. Interest doesn't exist because of inflation. Rather inflation exists because of interest.

Think about it. Imagine a town without money - for the sake of argument let's presume they'd previously gotten by with a barter system. Now imagine a bank setting up in town with a thousand dollars that they then lend out in tranches of one hundred dollars. Assuming a ten percent interest rate at the end of that year the bank will be owed $1100. Excellent. But where does the extra $100 come from? It doesn't exist - the bank only lent out a thousand. Sure enough the bank will have to print it... and lend it. And there you are - welcome to inflation. Sure enough inflation can exist even in a non-usurous system by way of over-printing, but in no way is it an inevitability. A usurous system on the other hand, wherein money only exists if it is lent and what's owed is always greater than what's lent, can't not have inflation. It is 100% dead-set inevitability. Um... until it busts of course. And it will bust - it must. Here is a cold hard truth: usury = inflation and inflation = boom and bust. Truthfully, the only difference between usury and a pyramid scam is the time scale. In both of them a bust is as inevitable as the sunrise.

The second strand of the argument concerning a currency's purchasing power involves its value in comparison to other currencies. We imagine that this is due to some fault of that particular government's inability to manage their economy. Really? Who ultimately decides what a nation's currency is worth? Why was it back in 1999 that when I flew from Beijing to Tokyo I was unable to change my fat pile of Renminbi for yen? This was the official currency of a nation of a billion people and yet no one would touch it. Absurdity! The money changers at Narita Airport could have made a killing what with a zillion Chinese travelling through there daily and yet not one of them wanted to know about it. There was no way known that each of the individual exchange booths all arrived at the same prejudice. Clearly they were forbidden by a central authority from trading in Renminbi. As was, I was a penniless pauper reduced to borrowing from friends just to get out of the airport.

And then there's Zimbabwe. Who decided Zimbabwe's money was worthless? Why is it now not worthless? No mumbling about Robert Mugabe, something, something. Only banks may declare a currency worthless. Street traders and individual whomevers can only follow along. Fact is - the banks didn't care for Mugabe choosing not to borrow his nation's money from a privately owned reserve bank and so they set their exchange rate phasers to 'starvation'.

And here's the crunch - even when it's not imaginary, money is not a thing. It is just a means of exchange. As such, it is necessary that money be understood as utterly unlike anything else. Instead of viewing it as a commodity or a product, it needs to be viewed as a non-commodity, a non-product. Money's utility as a means of exchange only comes by way of enabling people to exchange real things (which money is not). This money-enabled exchange of real things is a useful activity which will feed, clothe, and house a people. Inversely, tying up the means-of-exchange in the amassing of ever greater sums of that non-commodity is the very opposite of this useful activity. And that is the ultimate truth of usury.

Or as John Whipple, an American Lawyer, wrote in 1836 -
If 5 English pennies... had been... at 5 per cent compound interest from the beginning of the Christian era until the present time, it would amount in gold of standard fineness to 32,366,648,157 spheres of gold each eight thousand miles in diameter, or as large as the earth.

Which is silly of course, but that's the whole point. And that point stands as inarguable: when the medium of exchange is treated as its own commodity it has no future that isn't insane. Never mind 32 billion earths made of gold, long before that point is reached there will be more debt than there is stuff in the world to pay for it with, people as chattel included.

I understand the desire to stick up for interest. Part of it is the temptation to view ethics, or right behaviour if you like, as a democracy, ie. if everyone does it, it can't be wrong. And who wouldn't want to defend such a pretty thing, singing such a pretty song? "I'll grant you something for nothing", it says. "All you need is enough money and you become your own planetary body with your gravity pulling in guilt-free money for the rest of your life." But the singers are sirens and their song a false song, a song of the self.

Besides which there's the simple question - why should someone who already has more than he needs (by definition a lender) be rewarded by someone who didn't have enough to begin with (by definition a borrower)? Best not to argue since there is no argument against the obviousness of this that doesn't end up tripping over itself.

May I make a humble suggestion? In amongst nitpicking arguments over manifold rules, what if we were also to couch that discussion in terms of the simple continuum at the top of the page? Just as a back-up, kind of thing? Would that be objectionable? Or might it be helpful? Then how might we view usury? Would it fall at the right end of the continuum or the wrong end?

How now usury? In a world where everything equals money, and money equals usury, what is a man who wishes to abstain from bringing harm to others to do?


su said...

The Buddha would have said events happen deeds are done and yet there is no do-er.
Buddha himself said I do not exist, I am formless.

The design arose because it had to arise as a means of consciousness experiencing itself in multi facets. With no polarising opposites of good/bad, right/wrong. An unfolding in the dream scape.

It could not have been any other way other wise I guess it would have.

A. Peasant said...

no fishing and no bartending? that seems a little severe to me, but i like fishing and drinking cold beers. i guess i fail at buddhism before i even start. unless of course it's fine to fish and drink beer *recreationally,* and as long as you don't goof off drinking and fishing for a living, then we're good. ?

seriously, i think it was the publishers who glossed over the meaning of usury. are there other ways to do money? yes! that don't involve interest? YES! that would put the evil banksters out of business and benefit everyone else?? YES!!!

those other options must remain secret so that we have "no choice" but to go with fiat money. so quick bomb iran's oil fields because the banksters need to roll out a new fiat money scheme and start the game over from scratch, and they don't need no pesky smart-ass iranians popping off with some non-usurious banking model to lure people away from the trap.

nobody said...

Bloody Su! Come in here and render the whole thing superfluous! Mind you, Buddhism does tend to do that doesn't it?

Hey AP, sure, the war on those not subject to usury continues apace.

Otherwise folks, look! I'm in on a Sunday. Wonders will never cease. I did this because I wasn't happy with this piece and rewrote it. And that was even before I read Su's comment, ha ha. Anyway there's lots of minor changes that will interest no one and the end got completely rewritten. No particular reason - probably to make it more self-serving I suspect.

Oh nearly forgot. I finally slung that I'm a fan of whomever thing on the front page. Everyone else has one, and I slung my piccy in theirs, so I thought why not?

Go on! Sling your piccy in there and I guarantee nobody will be impressed! Yoroshiku.

su said...

Sorry about that Nobody.
Just sort of happened.

Many moons back on this exact platform we discussed the end of bank accounts.
Mine was blocked at that time but is unblocked now and I am sitting almost at then end of an overdraft.

Now a friend of mine Conny, has not had a bank account since she got divorced 8 years ago.
she initiated a project at a local squatter camp and the European sponsors wanted all the workers to open accounts so that they could get their payment directly in their accounts.
She campaigned against this, because in this country you pay to put money in the bank and you pay to take it out again.

She was fired for some terminology I can't remember.
Recently she sold her house in the village as she has moved to the mountains, in a hut, alongside a fresh source of water.

Now how she managed to sell a house without a bank to put the dosh in is a complicated business, but she has done it.
A very good example in my mind.

So strange to have you in on a Sunday.

nobody said...

Hey Su,

So far I like your comments better than the article. Note to Punters - "Hi folks it's too late now of course but don't bother with the article, it's rubbish. Just read the comments."

Otherwise Su, it's spooky that you tell me that story now. I would absolutely love to sit down and find out exactly how your friend went about doing all that. My head is in a very weird spot at the moment what with the old man ever declining and his inevitable demise rendering me homeless and incomeless. I have no idea what I'll do. Apart from quit the tourist town. I imagine a small property far from anything resembling a city. Tasmania? I don't know...

None of it is helped of course by the fact that this could go on for years or he could die tomorrow.

Anyway... the front page thing was a result of my head ringing with the conflict between the advice of friends that I get a bank account (and earn a carer's pension) and my refusal to have anything to do with banks.

Ha! It'd be nice to get away from things just to avoid such conversations.

Anonymous said...


I was going to comment on the piece but if you don't want me to then I won't, he he.
Although just in passing I thought you might be interested in this piece on Buddhist economics. Basically it is saying “Get off your lazy arse and do something worthwhile to enrich your soul”. Wat a minute, you are writing a blog site so I guess that counts.

I was looking up alternative money systems for AP and got it from this site:

Hmm, homeless when the old man pops his clogs. Since you are housed now, you could always throw yourself on the mercy of the state but you have to have an address now otherwise it doesn't work. Might be worth getting your retaliation in first.;-)

One thing in passing on the front page was this, “Or is it (a la dictionaries post 1913) the charging of too much interest? Webster's 1913 dictionary has the former as the first and the second meaning and the latter as the third. That publishers have chosen to alter its meaning over the decades may tell us about the nature of usury, or it may tell us about the publishers. And what with precisely such an evolution taking place in the Oxford University Press's religion defining Schofield Bible, I'd put my money on the latter”.
I found a web article years ago which I have tried to find back and can't, about word definitions. The author took about 7 – 8 everyday words, not esoteric ones and looked up their definitions in a series of dictionaries he owned, published at approx 10 year intervals. He found that over time the definitions got simpler with many alternative meanings excluded. He did it in the form of the word in bold type then the dictionary and its date, then the definition, then he pointed to what was excluded as time went by. He concluded that it was a nasty plot by the PTB to dumb down the public and compared it to falling education standards. So I think what you have discovered is not an isolated example.

Anonymous said...


Hey Nobs, there is something I have been meaning to ask you for a while but is way off topic, about your computer and graphics experience. Since you have written off the post then maybe now is a good time? Is there a way to save a web page, your front page for example, to storage? I can put up a web page and print it but I don't know how to save the same page, as is, to hard disk or DVD. I can C&P the text to word or similar but I loose the formatting, the lay out and the pickies. If it can't be done then
that's ok - thanks.

Penny said...

nobody, nobody, nobody....
I am going to have to reread and see what pops up, I read through quickly but...aargh!

Dave said...

Mike Hoffman's blog had a little something to say
about usury today. He's not everybodies cup of tea.
But the man can write as well as anyone against
"the tribe's" malevolence.
Check it out-


slozo said...

My sympathies to you, Nobody . . . tough gig to go through with your dad and all. Good luck with all that.

I think true independance will be good for you, though - one of the ways you get clarity is by having only yourself to depend on, and it usually makes you stronger.

I don't have to quote buddhism to know that usury of any sort is wrong - it inherently creates wealth out of nothing and pushes down your fellow man in need.

Be good, do right . . . the opposite of usury, and words I try to live by.

Zen Fool said...

It could be that usury isn't mentioned in the Pali canon because it didn't exist as such in the Buddha's milieu. Coined money was still an emergent technology in 6th c BCE India and it's likely nobody had thought of that particular dodge yet.

nobody said...

Zen Fool! Very good. I know what you're saying but in my travels best I could make out was that no one is too sure on any of that. First up there's the question of when the Buddha was alive. The existence of usury during the Buddha's time was also covered in that Buddhism A to Z link on the front page. They mention that the Buddha forbade anyone who was in debt from joining the sangha, a) to protect the sangha and, b) to stop people joining for no other reason than to escape debtors. I didn't get round to addressing it (it and a thousand other things)

Otherwise (oh wait, I think this trashes my central point but never mind) it seems that usury can exist without money. Fair warning - that link is to a Chinese anti-Tibetan propaganda site. I'll admit that there are a few points I consider spurious in there but a lot of it feels real to me. And along those lines (Buddhists misbehaving with money) read this. Actually I'll admit I didn't read it all, it is very long. Instead I just searched for 'usury' and read the paras either side. Pretty interesting.

Sorry for that flurry of links but I read a ton on this before I wrote and was kind of bummed so much didn't get in. One disappointment amongst many, ha ha.

Thanks Dave, interesting blog. Heavy hitter huh?

Thanks FB, as for saving, I'm not actually particularly expert at computers. All I know is that I save web pages all the time. Mind you, I'm on a Mac and I use Safari. I just hit command S and it saves to desktop or wherever. The only problems come when people link to pictures rather than upload them to the site. Otherwise, surely your browser software has a save function in there somewhere doesn't it? Man, if I couldn't save to desktop I think I'd have to shoot myself...

Off I go now. I'm in amongst a piece detailing the link between Australian Rules football and Papal paedophilia. Who knew?

Anyway, coming soon: more hard-hitting non-journalism from a bullshit artist who loves to make stuff up!

Anonymous said...


Didn't make myself clear did I, as usual swt.? I know how to save a link to anywhere on the computer. When I said save, I actually meant archive, There was a conversation some time ago, not here, about the web being taken down and if it was possible to archive web pages as they exist to view off line at some time in the future. Personally I think the web is too valuable disinformation tool for it to ever disappear but still it is an intriguing question that if a writable file exists to send to the printer then why can't you send the same file to a HD or DVD? Anybody know the answer?

su said...

not for posting necessarily - a little bit mundane perhaps.

This post so inspired me that today the account changed to one operating on the principles of Sharia. Non usury - was not too much of an ordeal - same bank offers the facility.
Just felt right to support the 'other'.

james said...

Hands up everyone who can spot the odd man out amongst my ox, my time, my house, and my money. Sure enough the first three degrade with time.

True enough, Nobby. Another difference is that the first three exist and the last doesn't actually exist physically but merely in peoples minds. Hence the lack of decay. It's unreal.

To translate usury into Arabic isn't as straightforward as one might think. Their word riba is usury ...but not quite. Technically it's defined as "surplus value without counterpart". Does that make things clear?

While not clear it does suggest something to me. It is wealth gained but not in exchange for something useful or even for something at all. No counterpart. This neatly fingers the 'unnaturalness' or 'one-way' of it; it's trickery or evilness.

Buddhism (as I understand it) doesn't give much, if any, space or validation to the concepts of 'Good' and Evil' so it is going to miss this aspect, this meaning, of usury, I think.

I have given a lot of thought to these concepts and how they play out in the world. And the conclusion I have come to is that 'Good' manifests itself as 'Compassion' between human beings and 'Evil' manifests not as hate, but as 'Exploitation'.
In contrast, Buddhism has a lot to say about compassion and exploitation. Indeed, to me (a poor sometime student of it) it is what Buddhism is all about.

Shakespeare said somewhere in one of his plays (Merchant of Venice?) "A lender nor borrower be". I reckon the Buddha would go along with that. So is it possible to do that? Yes, of course. Is it possible to do that and have a bank account? I would say 'yes' again. It is possible to have a bank account without receiving interest.
Aah, but you are supporting the system, no?

But the charge of not exploiting others or hindering them in the creative fulfilment of their lives applies to ourselves, too. And we are not to allow others to exploit us and hinder us either. So do we hinder ourselves more in the creative fulfilment of our lives by not having an account with no attendant interest, than we do by having one? Do we hinder others because we have hindered ourselves?

Friction and hurt between us is inevitable but the attitudes of compassion and exploitation are not. They are far more under our control and what this whole shakespearean theatre here on earth is all about, imho. I think the Buddha would agree with me on that. Though I can't claim that as my humble opinion!

nobody said...

James, Bingo! For mine, the word compassion is really crucially important. And exploitation as the flipside - very good, very interesting. A vague thought occurs to me that exploitation is a word we hear quite frequently in the media whilst compassion on the other hand doesn't get a great deal of use. I was about to ask 'how come?' when a big 'Duh!' fell out of the sky and hit me on the head. Of course the death cult would promote and otherwise have us desensitised to their favourite gag, exploitation. Thus when we see someone being exploited we think, 'Well, what did you expect?' And of course compassion should be missing from our lexicon. If we barely know what it is why would we protest its absence? Further, I can imagine any number of people that, were you to use the word 'compassion' whilst talking to them, would instantly view you as some kind of namby-pamby poof.

Hi Su, Bloody Hell! Did you just hit the nail on the head again? In amongst all my preceding reading, several hours were spent chasing down non-usurious possibilities in banking. In fact that was pretty much the point of the exercise.

Anyway in Oz, in spite of a lot of blather, there is no such thing as a sharia bank. But some of the regular big banks here do offer what they term Sharia based accounts. I'm not sure what to make of these. Given that in every other field of endeavour the big banks never miss a chance to behave like perfect c_nts* I'm not quite sure what to make of them declaring themselves sharia compliant. It wouldn't surprise me if they didn't merely view it as an easy way to get out of paying their otherwise piddling interest. And then to go on and invest your money in anti-Muslim biotech weapons ha!

But then again... it's probably worth signing up regardless since if enough people do it, it acts as a variety of vote/sends a message kind of thing.

If anyone wants to know what the ideal would be have a look at this. Now there's the bank for me. Sadly it's for Swedish citizens only. Jävlar!

And FB, now I'm confused. The things I save aren't links, they're actual pages. Then I go home, fully offline, and plough through the day's reading. I don't know if this will clarify anything but if you go here, and click on the desktop piccy at the top you can see the web archive files on the right hand side. (I just checked, they actually are called 'web archives') You'll see 'Laurel Canyon' is in there and 'Wagging the Moondoggy' too.

Anyway, in Safari on a Mac it's all absurdly simple.

*Gosh did I really say the dreaded 'c' word? In my defence may I say that we were talking about banking...

james said...

Glad you found it interesting, Nobby. Our whole society is structured exploitation, of course. The shittier the job, the shittier the pay, sort of thing and that's just for starters. It is the milieu we swim in constantly. And like a fish in water, we can't see it; or rarely do, and certainly not in its entirety.

Another interesting thing about the compassion/exploitation duality is that they are mutually exclusive. The more you exploit someone the less compassion you can have for them.

The choice is before us all day, everyday.

Anonymous said...

Its very simplistic, by charging interest, one is demanding payment in form that is not sufficiently available.

So if 1 million pieces of paper are created and then lent into circulation, but the issuer demands 1 million and fifty thousand, but only 1 million is in circulation, therefore its impossible to pay back the interest charge of fifty thousand or 5%. The 5% would need to be borrowed as well, it needs to be created. You can speed the process up by tax, which just is collecting the say 50% (usually 80-90%) of the million in circulation and giving it back to the issuer. With compound interest this system can destroy any human activity in the space of a decade or two, a market place will just cannibalize itself and the issuer of the paper currency will monopolize everything in a short peroid of time.

Any government involved with this practice is guilty of treason and should be arrested and hung.

nobody said...

Hi folks, I was most of the way through the new thing when I stopped in at Smoking Mirrors to find that Les Visible had beaten me to the punch. The swine! And he punches harder than I do too. Anyway, I'm off there right now to tell him off.

Penny said...

my comment for this and though it is not regarding usury, it has to do with what is really capital

"Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration."

I came across this oddly enough on the front cover of a magazine.

I thought about this?
Could this be interpreted as the real capitalists (the creator of capital) are people who work?
Who Labour? Ya know, the 'salt of the earth' types.

Which then makes the 'capitalist class' as generally recognized at this time, what?

The leech classes, the parasites??
Then what of usury, the device the leeches use to enslave the real capitalists?

Does that make sense, or am I to burnt out and tired today?

Leeches of the true capitalists?

Penny said...

Pen to nobody.
Are you there?
Are you there?

nobody said...

Sorry Boys and Girls,

I should have said something beforehand but the library I use for my internet connection was closed for Easter. I had intended using an internet cafe but I was actually busy all weekend helping a mate paint her house and the only day I had free was Sunday, the day that everything closes, internet cafes included.

Never mind there's a new thing written now so who cares?

A. Peasant said...

pen, believe it or not, all that labor superior to capital and no usury stuff is more or less in the catechism of the CC:

not that anyone pays any attention whatsoever, but yes, once upon a time they wrote it all down.

2424 A theory that makes profit the exclusive norm and ultimate end of economic activity is morally unacceptable. The disordered desire for money cannot but produce perverse effects. It is one of the causes of the many conflicts which disturb the social order.204

A system that "subordinates the basic rights of individuals and of groups to the collective organization of production" is contrary to human dignity.205 Every practice that reduces persons to nothing more than a means of profit enslaves man, leads to idolizing money, and contributes to the spread of atheism. "You cannot serve God and mammon."206

2425 The Church has rejected the totalitarian and atheistic ideologies associated in modem times with "communism" or "socialism." She has likewise refused to accept, in the practice of "capitalism," individualism and the absolute primacy of the law of the marketplace over human labor.207 Regulating the economy solely by centralized planning perverts the basis of social bonds; regulating it solely by the law of the marketplace fails social justice, for "there are many human needs which cannot be satisfied by the market."208 Reasonable regulation of the marketplace and economic initiatives, in keeping with a just hierarchy of values and a view to the common good, is to be commended.

Penny said...

hey ap, thanks for that.
I was aware that at one time the catholic church frowned heavily on usary, but, whoops..they threw that one out the window!

It's sad the way everything has been twisted and people have been reduced to mere beasts of burden, or the hosts for the parasite class.

Rather then the people being looked upon as the best part of the society.

The common man is frowned upon.

"The disordered desire for money cannot but produce perverse effects"

that sentence alone, says so much with so few words, eh?

Regulating the economy solely by centralized planning perverts the basis of social bonds;

even that one.

It is sad really how far the catholic church has come away from decency and common sense, much like the rest of this perverted society we live in. I am not referring to pedos or anything like that, just the whole of the way our society is....structured, I think is the word I am looking for.

Penny said...

hey nobody, I had a comment prior to this one, a response to ap, but, blogger got funky and I do not know if it went through, so I will wait until you let everything through and see if it worked or not.

If not, I shall try again

Anonymous said...

First of all if money/credit is being created out of thin air through fractional reserve banking then paying interest on it (especially interest compounded, meaning paying more than twice the principal as in home mortgage) is clearly unethical, fraud and wrong livelihood. That's how our entire banking financial system is, but we are blissfully ignorant. Time to wake up to save people and planet and do our bodhisattva part.
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