Friday, 25 April 2008

Rowan Williams and debt

It was good to hear Rowan Williams this morning on Radio 4 addressing the issue of debt and questioning the wisdom of our present system which encourages it.

I started posting on this issue in May last year and have been running a bit of a theme on it for some time under the heading "The Debt Disaster", including posting links to my article on 'Losing Interest' about the Church's historical opposition to usury, which I originally wrote back in 2005, and articles about the sub-prime disaster starting from June last year (The Debt Disaster: £1,300,000,000,000 in debt, and trouble round the corner).

I'd like to have heard a bit more from the Archbishop about the Bible's position on charging interest, and especially Jesus' view, which was that it was the "hard man" who profited from the labours of others who would put his money on deposit so he could take the interest (Luke 19:22-23, the Parable of the Talents).

Yes, I've got my 'told you so' tee-shirt on here, but the point is, this was predictable if you took the biblical position seriously. An interest (usury) based economy is inherently unstable and the biblical prohibitions have an inherent wisdom, not least in their concern for the poor (see Nehemiah 5).

Revd John P Richardson
25th April 2008

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