Book Chapter

Usury

Ian Harper, Lachlan Smirl

Oxford University Press | Published : 2014

Abstract

Usury has a long and varied history. Originally the term referred to the charging of interest per se—that is, requiring a borrower to repay more than the principal sum borrowed from a lender. Over time borrowing and lending evolved to become an integral part of commercial life, and usury came to refer to the charging of excessive or unconscionable rates of interest on loans. The Christian church no longer opposes the charging of interest, although moral sanctions are upheld against certain exploitative lending practices. Bans on interest are recognized as an ineffective means of protecting the vulnerable, and may even have the opposite effect. Contemporary Islamic societies prohibit predeter..

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University of Melbourne Researchers