Money for Nothing: The Sin of Usury

16 Pages Posted: 4 May 2020

See all articles by Joseph Burke

Joseph Burke

Watchdog Research; Audit Analytics

Date Written: November 25, 2008

Abstract

I present an overview of the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church on usury. In 1515, the Fifth Lateran Council defined “the real meaning of usury: when, from its use, a thing which produces nothing is applied to the acquiring of gain and profit without any work, any expense or any risk.” I argue that the economic conditions of the Middle Ages could not have justified any interest, but structural changes to the economy, including the abolition of slavery, inflation, and the emergence of markets for investment, justify interest on the basis of default risk, the costs of inflation, and opportunity costs.

Keywords: usury, commutative justice, Catholicism, Scholasticism

JEL Classification: B11, Z12

Suggested Citation

Burke, Joseph, Money for Nothing: The Sin of Usury (November 25, 2008). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3570155 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3570155

Joseph Burke (Contact Author)

Watchdog Research ( email )

5072 Annunciation Cir., Suite 202
Ave Maria, FL 34142
United States
855-820-6272 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.watchdogresearch.com/

Audit Analytics ( email )

9 W. Main St
Suite 2F
Sutton, MA 01590
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.auditanalytics.com

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
29
Abstract Views
152
PlumX Metrics