Thomas Aquinas and Usury

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Aquinas on Usury 1
The idea of lending money at a cost or interest rate has been a concept that has been around for centuries. St Thomas Aquinas was an early Western philosopher who is acclaimed to be the thought of much of the catholic churches teachings today. Aquinas was against the notion of lending money at interest for various reasons. Following the catholic view on usury often leads to an association with greed and exploiting the person in need of the loan. In today’s society usury is almost virtually never disputed and seen as something customary to everyone. With the concept of inflation and quite a capitalistic society we now live in it is hard to agree with many of Aquinas’ arguments against usury. Aquinas did not see any
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With this concept it is virtually impossible to lend money for a long- term period without a risk of losing money off the loan. Adjustments can be argued to be made once the loan is made to adjust for inflation, however, in business it will typically be difficult to dispute a 2% increase if there is no binding contract. Although it is very rare that some of the bigger firms lose on a loan, there are still risks involved in the loan. Usury was always viewed as negative because there was no understanding of lending money as a service or good. It has been argued that if you give someone a banana, you do not ask for two back. This is true in practice but money is something that is used as a universal means of trade. If someone asked for one thousand bananas it would be right to ask for money or something to be returned for giving that many bananas. The same concept applies for money; if someone of close

Aquinas and Usury 4 relation asks to borrow twenty dollars because they left their wallet at home you will not expect any money back. However, if they need fifteen thousand you may need the money for one of your own personal necessities or investments. It can be argued money has an opportunity cost if lent out for a significant amount of time. There is also the risk of someone not paying a loan and leaving the person who loaned the money out that
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