On Law, Morality, and Politics.
" . . . To take interest for
money lent is unjust in itself, because this is to sell what does not
exist, and this
evidently leads to inequality, which is contrary to justice. . . Now,
money according to the Philosopher1a, was invented chiefly for the purpose of
exchange, and, consequently, the proper and principal use of money is its consumption or
alienation, whereby it is sunk in exchange. Hence, it is by
its very nature unlawful to take payment for the use of money lent, which payment is
known as interest, and just as a man is bound to restore other ill-gotten goods, so
is he bound to restore the money which he has taken in interest."1
1 Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274).
On Law, Morality, and Politics. Edited by William P. Baumgarth and Richard J. Regan, S.J. Avatar
Books of Cambridge, 1988. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Publishing Company. (ST II-II,
Question 78: Of the Sin of Interest-Taking, 198-209; First Article: Is It a Sin to Take
Interest for Money Lent?, 198-202).
a Aristotle (384-322 B.C.).
Politics. Translated by Ernest Barker, revised with an Introduction and Notes
by R.F. Stalley. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, 1995. (The trade of the petty
usurer, at 29-30 (1258a35).)