As we take some time to contemplate the year, the most important things in life, and lessons from religious teachings, we could well reflect on what we’ve been told about the charging of interest. A super little article from my friend Wayne Visser, summarises the warnings against charging interest from the great religions: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism. Those warnings are so striking now, as sovereign debt crises shake our hopes of a joyful year ahead. As usury is so routinely regarded as a problem by the great teachers of the ages, why have we let contemporary money be created as debt with interest, by private banks? Today, over 97% of our money is created that way. This doesnt mean usury by a lender using existing money they earned, but usury on the very birth of money. Commercial bank money is born as debt with interest, and this is its original sin, because the perpetual indebtedness it creates means ecological destruction and social inequality. It means that we have to pay the usurers for our ability to trade anything amongst ourselves. It creates a state of universal usury.
The world’s religions have relaxed their prohibitions on usury, apart from Islam, although even then, other tricks are used to achieve the same effect of making money from money without sharing effort or risk. There are some good arguments for allowing, while limiting, the charging of interest on loans. But charging interest on the very creation of money, the very unit of value, the very mechanism of exchange? Thats a disaster. And it crept up on us, with religious leaders and followers mostly silent on the situation.
The solutions are many, and we can start working on them now, as I described in my TEDx talk.
But the first step is to open our minds to this critique, to decide to explore it, rather than hide behind a comforting and mistaken assumption that “its too complicated” or “it just sounds too radical” or “this is something for monetary experts”. That takes courage. Yet without courage, what does any spiritual message, belief, or experience really mean?
So if you want a change from the usual TV, check out some of the videos, check out some of the links on my money resources page.