Essays on Assessing modern American Capitalism and its impact on American culture Essay

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ID Assess the view of usury of the major religions and the implications of such views on business in the 18th century. The Eighteenth Century Religious Views on Usury and their Effects on Business Introduction Usury has been in existence in the world from the ancient to the modern times when it has developed significantly. Usury is an act of lending money to individuals who are in need for a gain known as profit or interest (Carrey 20). The act of lending money for interest was initially common among the Jews of Europe because they were merchants and had surplus funds to lend to others.

Although usury has spread to the whole world in modern times, religions such as Judaism, Christianity, and Islam condemned the act arguing that it was immoral, exploitative, and unacceptable. An analysis of the various religious views about usury in the eighteenth century is critical in understanding the effects of such views on business. Christians Views Christianity condemned usury partly and also supported it partly in the eighteenth century. The religion condemned the act arguing that it was against moral values.

Christians argued that the Bible, which is their main guide in life, argued that usurers should not get any returns when they lend their money to borrowers (Boardman, Sandomir and Sondak 19). This is because the gains that they receive are unfair and the act is considered to be exploitative of the poor people. At the time of this view, Christians did not engage in the business of usury compared to others like Jews. In the same century, Christians changed their view of usury arguing that it was acceptable if the interest rate charged was not too high.

The religion postulated that the acceptable level of interest was that set by law; any rate above the state law was said to be usury and it was unfair and unacceptable (Tawney 42). The change in the view of Christians promoted the development of additional businesses such as banks. Judaist Views The Jews make up the Judaism religion and in the eighteenth century, they believed that usury was acceptable if Jews lent money to Non-Jews; however, the religion believed that usury conducted between Jews was unacceptable (Boardman, Sandomir and Sondak 22).

This is because the religion viewed Jews to be brothers who should not exploit each other. Members of the religion also held the fact that Non-Jews were not brothers with Jews and that there was no problem of lending them money at an interest (Tawney 45). Jews, therefore, practiced usury by lending money to members of other religions during this century. The business of money lending grew among the members of this religion so much that they practiced it in temples and other convenient places. Another reason for the rise of the practice of usury among Jews was the fact that other religions did not venture into this business (Carrey 26).

This created numerous opportunities for Jews to invest and grow in the business. Although Judaists believed in lending money at a profit, their religion discouraged them from borrowing funds for consumption unless when the need was critical. Therefore, it was rare for Jews to borrow money from one another even at zero interest (Carrey 27). This explains the reason for the high surpluses that Jewish moneylenders had for lending Non-Jews. Islamic Views The Islamic religion concurred with their Christian counterparts that usury was not acceptable in the society in the eighteenth century.

In fact, the Quran prohibits this action completely regardless of the level of interest (Boardman, Sandomir and Sondak 24). Islam did not therefore accept the usury form of business in their religion; this discouraged members from taking part in this industry. Sir Sayyed, however, developed a school of thought that accepted some form of usury in Islam in the same period (Tawney 50).

The Islamist argued that lending money at an interest was acceptable if the funds were to be used commercially. However, Sayyed criticized the practice of lending money for consumption at an interest (Tawney 50). The viewpoints of Sir Sayyed led to the development of usury for commercial purposes in the religion. Conclusion Usury refers to the practice of lending money to individuals, groups, or businesses at a profit. The Islam and Christian religions were mostly against the practice for the better part of the eighteenth century. These religions discouraged the practice arguing that it was exploitative and it was against the will of God and Mohammed.

Judaism, however, accepted usury on the basis that it led to the creation of wealth. Christians changed their view later and believed that the practice was unacceptable if the interest charged was beyond the acceptable level of the state. This change in view promoted the money lending business. The Jews believed in lending money to non-members of their religion at an interest while it condemned the act between members of the faith. This belief led to the high development of usury business among Jews more than any other religion.

Therefore, it is clear that Judaism promoted usury the highest followed by Christianity and lastly Islam. Works Cited Boardman, Calvin M, Alan N. Sandomir, and Harris Sondak. Foundations of Business Thought. Upper Saddle River: Pearson Custom Publishing, 2012. Print. Carey, Daniel. Money and Political Economy in the Enlightenment. Oxford: Voltaire Foundation, 2014. Print. Tawney, R H. Religion and the Rise of Capitalism: A Historical Study. New York: Brace and Company, 2013. Print.

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