Why was Usury So Unpopular in the Ancient World?
OK, here is an open question to the readers. Why was the practice of making loans with interest rates so unpopular in antiquity. Most of you might think that usury was about excessive interest rates, however historical evidence suggests that usury was about charging any interest on loans. But why?
Some of the earliest known condemnations of usury come from the Vedic texts of India. Similar condemnations are found in religious texts from Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. At times many nations from ancient China to ancient Greece to ancient Rome have outlawed loans with any interest. Though the Roman Empire eventually allowed loans with carefully restricted interest rates, in medieval Europe, the Christian church banned the charging of interest at any rate (as well as charging a fee for the use of money, such as at a bureau de change).
How can the idea of charging interest on loans simultaneously offend religions as diverse as Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam. What makes usury so repulsive that even “god-less” pagans such as the Romans and Chinese had to often explicitly ban it?
What do you think? Comments?