Monday, January 01, 2018




(By Ojewale Ridwanullah Ayomide)

When people speak against interest, it often sounds more devotional than commonsensical perhaps because those who paint it as economically right have long been left to assume superiority in the argument. I however do not wish to overpass their brags of logic any further. A lecturer of economics in a reputable university reportedly silenced some of his students who stood against usury with the argument that it would amount to a high-degree insanity if one gives out a sum of money which he could well use to economically benefit himself unto someone else for business and allow the beneficiary go with all the profits. He contended that if the money had remained with the benefactor, he also could (or would) have gotten involved in businesses that'll bring profit anyway and that giving out the money means the beneficiary had denied the benefactor such opportunity, hence, the justification for usury. The argument may sounds deep, strong and tempting but then…it merely "sounds".

One thing we must necessitously clear at this point is the fact that lending is a favor and when you do a favor, you do not hold on to what you think it would've been like if you hadn't done it; at least a responsible man doesn't. Lending is never an obligation. If you have a plan for your money and it can't wait or it's more important than helping a man in need, then, do well in keeping it. Why feign compassion when greed is the true drive?

An apt basis for this argument is the fact that in a business, it's either a gain or loss; even when you get exactly what you've invested, there is still a loss of time and energy. Business is chosen to make it sound even less ridiculous as interest is demanded indiscriminately even when it's for a nonprofit yielding or dire purposes as hospital bills. The issue then is that, if a business can go on to bring profit, it certainly then, can bring loss. So, if the assumption on which the argument for usury is based is just profit and not loss inclusive, then it is grossly flawed. But if loss is also considered, the questions become; if interest should be paid because the beneficiary also must have gained and the gain should be shared, then shouldn't the loss be shared as well when he loses? If it makes sense that the lender has nothing to do with the losses, then it should make more sense that he has nothing to do with the profits.  The truth is that humans try to justify their greed even when it is obviously unjustifiable. If the lender had done the business himself, he well could have run into losses but when he lends out, he wants profit (via interest) regardless of whether the man makes it or not.

Going back to the argument of this "lecturer" who rather needs be lectured, he claimed that if the value of money is not what it was when he lent out, why should he get the same amount? But the answer is a forthright one. If the value had increased, would he have agreed to be paid in lesser amount (but equal value) of what he lent out? If the money had remained with him, that would not have stopped its depreciation and in such case, who would have requited him for the depreciation?

I am not against joint ownership; you may own a business and decide who runs it and how profit will be shared. However, when you lend out with a certain percent added pay back even when he has not been able to return just the principal, even when it has yielded nothing, even when you don't know if he'll be robbed of it the next minute, you can call it a business in a free world, you may say it's being smart but do not aver that you've done a favor (for everyone knows who is ultimately favored) and most importantly, do not try to justify it. Not all businesses are right anyway, but every reasonable citizen tries to rid his nation of the wrongs.

Usury is a form of modern slavery that has thrived long enough on the greed of men. It has wrecked nations, wracked potentials and even wreaked unspeakable havocs on lives and dreams. We cannot speak for growth and development until we speak against usury. Let's bring out the sense of love, compassion, responsibility and selflessness in our people. We can rid our society of it and we are surely better without it.

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