Jesus against Hillel on Usury

I would argue that the best summation of Christian ethics is found in the sermon on the plain in Luke 6:20–49. What I love about the sermon on the plain is just how radical it seems on the surface, it seems almost impossible; however, when you think about what it’s saying, and think about it deeply—it makes sense. Probably my favorite example of this is found in Luke 6:34–35 (NRSV):

If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.

Continue reading “Jesus against Hillel on Usury”

Jesus against Hillel on Usury

Thomas Aquinas, The Summa Theologica and Capitalism – Part 2

In the previous post, Thomas Aquinas, the Summa Theologica and Capitalism – Part 1, I went over Thomas Aquinas’ view of property, in this post we will talk about his views on market exchange and credit. The Capitalist concept of the free market, is that of absolute property rights. According to Capitalism one should be allowed to sell something at whatever price someone else is willing to pay, irrespective of circumstances. For example if I have ready access to water, I may not want to pay that much for a bottle of water, whereas if I’m in the desert and access to water is hard to come by, I’d be willing to pay more out of necessity and the seller would be justified in Capitalism when he maximizes the money he can get from me for the bottle of water. Supply and demand (ignoring of course things like the labour theory of value, which I believe is applicable alongside supply and demand) are what determines prices in the free market system.

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Thomas Aquinas, The Summa Theologica and Capitalism – Part 2