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2021 | OriginalPaper | Buchkapitel

5. A Christian Approach to Interest

verfasst von : Jock Stein

Erschienen in: Ethical Discourse in Finance

Verlag: Springer International Publishing

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Abstract

This chapter relates Christian beliefs to interest and the modern banking system, and discusses how ethical approaches to interest have developed over time. After seven ‘snapshots’ of attitudes to charging interest, from ancient Greece and Rome up to the present day, it outlines five beliefs shared by Christians which have correlates in the field of economics and society. It then examines the question of interest today, the modern banking system and arguments for and against using interest as part of it. It concludes that there are some good moral and practical reasons for a non-interest banking system, but it cannot easily co-exist with a conventional banking system. Christians are more concerned with the spirit and purpose, than with the letter of any law. If there are good arguments for interest-free banking, they will want to pursue them, but they will not postpone finding other ways to help the poor when one particular way may be unavailable.

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Fußnoten
1
By the sixteenth century, Philip Melancthon could say indignantly that there was all the difference in the world between them (Kerridge, 5).
 
2
Aristotle refers to the exchange of money as ‘changing-round’ which might well be applied to the modern market in derivatives.
 
3
Minor exceptions were the teaching of Henry George and his proposals for land value taxation, and the ‘Social Credit’ movement of the 1930s. Henry George’s Progress and Poverty (1879) was the best-selling popular book on economics ever!
 
4
The first Islamic bank was actually opened in Egypt in 1963.
 
5
For a more nuanced view, see Kim et al. (2009).
 
6
cf. Credit Unions and ventures like the Leith Community Bank, and the proposals of e.g. Positive Money (see www.​positivemoney.​org/​).
 
7
The early books of the Bible were not finally shaped till the Babylonian exile, and reflect conditions in later Israel as well as in the Sinai desert.
 
8
See Chapters 4 and 11, and especially the quote from Keynes on 296.
 
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Metadaten
Titel
A Christian Approach to Interest
verfasst von
Jock Stein
Copyright-Jahr
2021
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-81596-7_5