A few days ago, I posted a debate I had with some Greenbackers on the subject of usury. It is technically someone else’s comment thread, but I feel entitled to my own words and the response they kindled. Well, the debate continues. There are some 100+ comments on the particular article, only about 10% of which are mine or in response to me. Even though I chose not to link to the blog before, I have done so now that others may read and come to their own conclusions. Here is the initial comment I left:
Hey guys, interesting stuff.
Here you are talking about interest seemingly rejecting the notion (unless it never even crossed your minds) that it is no different than any other price paid to use someone else’s property.
Why is it not arbitrary to decry interest but ignore all other charges?
Why is it not arbitrary to consider money as somehow different than any other useful tool?
If you want to use my hammer I should be able to ask for something in return. If you want to use it indefinitely, I should be able to charge more or raise the price.
Why is it somehow different or immoral when you want to use my money?
I ask these rhetorically, but if there is some non-arbitrary reason why charging a fee for the use of money but not the use of a hammer, I would greatly appreciate it if someone gave it to me.
I am not saying that interest and fraud never overlap, but this is true with any economic transaction.
The latest response:
This is just seemingly attractive. Typical austrian deductionism ignoring the facts that this ”logic’ creates: a wealth transfer of anywhere between 5 and 10 trillion per year to richest ten percent of the population.
The fact is: the rich lend, the poor borrow. That’s why the rich hired von Hayek, Mises, North, Rockwell etc. to create this thought in your mind: money is just a tool and if people ‘voluntarily’ (do they have a real alternative?) submit to it, it should be ‘ok’.
My rebuttal, which as yet is the last word in that particular thread, note the sarcasm at the end:
It is just so simple, isn’t it? Rich people don’t borrow “capital” and poor people never lend their savings? Is this also a “fact”?
And no one is arguing that money is “just” a tool. That’s the problem. That’s the whole reason anyone is discussing this at all: It has become something other than a tool.
What is it inherent in “money” that makes it not available for “rent”? Say it is only a “tally for favors owed”, fine. What is wrong with “renting” even this out?
And whether something works and whether it is tyrannical are two separate issues. A monopoly not only does not work, it also eliminates free choice (though separate issues, the reasons for these two things are basically the same). I am arguing AGAINST monopoly on both grounds, even if the alternatives to the monetary system I prefer are inefficient or just plain stupid. So don’t bring up the “do they really have a choice?” canard. I am not defending the current system.