The Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR) is an international interfaith movement that has been working for peace, justice and nonviolence for almost a century. As a result of meeting Ray Foss during my tour of Oregon and Washington about a year ago, I reconnected with FOR. Ray has lately been instrumental in raising the issues of “usury” and “the money problem” amongst various faith-based communities. I think it is largely through his efforts that a recent issue of Fellowship, the magazine of FOR, had a major focus on Rethinking Money.
Starting with a fine editorial by Mark C. Johnson, FOR executive director, that section of the magazine contains articles by both Ray and myself. My article Money, Usury, and the Economics of Peace, can be read online.
The arguments against the practice of usury/interest go way beyond scriptural prohibitions. It is now obvious to anyone who cares to see, that there are solid economic and social arguments that should be sufficient to persuade any rational person that our present system of money and finance, based as it is on compound interest (usury), is not only unjust, but also destructive to the natural environment, the social fabric, and the common good.
World debt has been growing much faster than any measure of economic output, even GDP (gross domestic product), which includes not only the production of goods, but also the production of “bads.” The financial crises we are seeing in various countries and economic sectors are evidence that the debt burdens have grown far beyond what can be borne by either the private sector or by governments.
The growth of debt must stop. A new economic and financial order must soon emerge, if not consciously and deliberately, then it will happen on its own through the descent into chaos. If political and financial leaders cannot accept the end of the old order of things, then the people themselves must take the lead to develop new arrangements that build a peaceful, more equitable society, from the bottom up. How that might be done s the subject of the latter (prescriptive) chapters of my book, The End of Money and the future of Civilization.
Bitcoin and the use of digital P2P currencies generally.
Jct: Bitcoin uses a stupid cause of creation of credits, wasting time. A UNILETS P2P timebank uses the useful transfer of time at volunteer labor as the cause of creation of credits.
Yes, 17 verses in the Bible disparaging usury. How did we get to this point? One of the reasons is the fact that people don’t realize that money is created when it is borrowed into creation. It is committed upon a name written in a book, and remitted when the name is removed from the book. People think the bank had the money in the first place, so they must pay a rental fee for the use of it. They never think about the origin of it. It’s one thing to pay an extra fee on a bond between two producers with cash that no one is paying a rental fee for, but to pay a compounding rental for cash that the bank didn’t have in the first place? Just give everyone a certain equal amount of cash debt(rent free) , and issue stocks or bonds to raise funds for extended credit. Any community with its own currency could eliminate the Fed control if it just followed these simple concepts. Open brokerages that trade stocks and bonds with the community currency.
Thomas Greco: “The growth of debt must stop. A new economic and financial order must soon emerge, if not consciously and deliberately, then it will happen on its own through the descent into chaos.”
Jct: The new financial order is already here, the Time Standard of Money. It’s time for all to practice what you preach by setting up your own interest-free UNILETS timebank account like I did at http://facebook.com/john.turmel?sk=info listing my Offers, Wants, Hours given and Hours received. http://johnturmel.com/uniset.htm details how to set up your own account and then network of traders before the regular money crash.
Should there not be a differentiation between usury, a charge for the use of credit money which has cost the ‘lender’ nothing other than an administrative function to supply – and which is therefore a wholly illegitimate charge – and interest, which is a compensation for the loss of use of loaned existing (real) wealth, which is by contrast entirely legitimate, and the level of which is calculated by the degree of risk involved in making the loan?
Additionally, there is surely nothing intrinsically wrong with debt.
Any amount of credit on the one side, leads to a debt on the other.
As long as the debtor has borrowed within his/her ability to repay
over an agreed timescale I just do not see a problem.
Rather than the Bankers, though they have certainly taken near full and very, very lucrative advantage of the privileged position they enjoy, the principal responsibility lies, as ever in my humble opinion, with Governments alone. These, pretty much without exception worldwide, spend without limit having first created the ‘rules’ to allow themselves to continue to do so by means of legal tender laws. These ultimately lead to populations the world over becoming little more than slaves to the servicing of never ending State debt.
Such ‘laws’ are thus the cornerstone of the current and slowly growing tyranny, as it has become ever more necessary for States to impose ever tighter financial and economic restrictions on their subject populations in their attempts to maintain and continue their entirely corrupt practices.
On a different (though related) topic, I would be very interested to read your views in respect of Bitcoin and the use of digital P2P currencies generally. To me, they appear to have the potential to be the harbingers of a new and substantially improved de-politicised age, in which politicians and crass vested interest have lost control of the means of exchange. Even if too late for the likes of me, such a development would certainly be handy for our children and grandchildren!!
I would specifically say that any amount of credit on one side leads to “debit” on the other. Both the one with credit(creditor), and the one with debit(debitor) are in debt with each other. I would call the bookkeeper in charge of who is in debit the “debtor”. We are at war with a diabolical enemy(banker) who has taken out our communications system. We must strive to come up with a sensible language to defeat this abomination of a banking system.