“Usury-Free Banking” as “Social Business”

Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Muhammad Yunus who founded the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh made microcredit famous.

In his latest book Creating a World without Poverty, Dr. Yunus advocates social business for entrepreneurs and credit without collateral for lending institutions.

Bankers could thus begin to practise ‘usury-free banking’ so that their enterprise can become a ‘social business’ a la Yunus.

Entrepreneurs can start a social business to influence the future of capitalism, for as Dr. Yunus says: governments are notoriously slow and institutions have failed us in terms of alleviating poverty and delivering ‘development’.

Together, we may even address the greatest of all challenges Beyond Terror: climate change, competition over resources, marginalisation of the majority world, global militarisation.

6 responses to ““Usury-Free Banking” as “Social Business”

  1. Dr. Yunus’ micro lending system is based on usury and high usury at that with borrowers paying 30% APR and more per year.

    Every micro lending entity I know of is based on usury and therefore inherently evil.

    Look at the abouve web site which we hope to have running shortly. There are zero interest and fees to the borrower.

    I am slo issuing a local currency in Maryland that is based on interest free loans as a means of issuance.

  2. Dear Peter,

    I’m glad you point out that ‘mathematically unsound’ principle that I’m going on about all the time, too. See our petition “Stop the Cash Crumble to Equalize the Credit Crunch” on http://tinyurl.com/666rwd

    However, I read “Creating a World without Poverty” and wouldn’t want to criticise Grameen activities because of a principle that doesn’t really matter as long as Grameen operates within a system of a currency that is ‘issued and supplied’ beyond the control of the bank.

    Also, anybody who has helped so many people deserves admiration and support rather than criticism in my view.

    Good luck with doing it better!!!

  3. This is the solution for a usury free eocnomical strure. read this book for a new economical theory. ‘ HOW TO STRUCTURE A SUCCESSFUL ECONOMY’ after reading it you will leard on what to ask your governemnt to do to supply you the money with out interest. Example you cn see how people can take 500 k loan at a fee of no more than $ 100.00 / month. car loans at a fee of $ 50.00 / month regardless of the price of the car. or any business loan with fee doesn’t exceed 1 %. it’s the metthod of supplying money to people with out interst (USURY)

  4. The underpinning of money can be identified as a value system.
    A currency, in the case of cash, represents a current exchange unit and cash is underpinned by what is valued by a society and the individuals who support its way of life.

    If gold is valued by people, it is an underpinning for cash, if oil is valued, the same appllies, and so on with land, houses, castles, debt etc.
    However, long before money, commodities and assets existed, people valued humane qualities and sharing was the forerunner to exchange.

    Sharing shares, freely. Exchange demands something in return and exchanges can be, and are, dominated by power, selfishness and greed.
    Bonds bind our children’s lives to a system of indebtedness, and the future is indebted to our current ideas and our institutionalised way of thinking before these unformed lives learn to think dream of or imagine another way to live.

    But the underpinning of cash is still a value system, what humans wish for, desire and dream of, and it isn’t that hard to understand the finacial problems of today when very few people dream of sharing their life, their value, their human worth and the social currency of their human feelings with others, freely.

    In the final analysis, people are money. What we dream of and aspire to underpins our current social currency, and we either learn to dream of a shared way of life or a selfish one. We value ourselves and others, or we only value our current way of thinking, those that think like us, those that look like us, those who have been eductaed in our way of life, those who believe as we do, and so on.

    The only stable currency is that of an individually considerate and compassionate evaluation. One that starts from someone considering their own selfishness and selflessness and understanding these passions, as a way to found an individual value system within their self. This system can then be used to evaluate others and to allow for the unknown.
    There is nothing to exchange, only a valued and valuabe life that can be shared with everyone.

    Once this currency is used to stabilise money, the rest will be easy if we all keep an eye on our own greed and selfishness instead of blaming others for our unhappiness.

    Shared money.! Strange idea. I expect charity will replace it and then we will soon be back to the greed that accumulates wealth so that selfish people can feel good about exchanging some of their gains for a reward in heaven. Or maybe a knighthood that they can enjoy on earth.

    It’s not that you are worth money. It is that money’s worth is you, and you and you, and of course me. Now, back to those dreams. What did I want to share with others.? Oh well! I guess passionate dreams can include a considerate boundary of some kind or other.

  5. How fascinating, Philip!!!

    Yes, it’s most definitely about values. But it’s also about control, methinks. Of course, if you want to share, you don’t need to control the other.

    But should you want to control not only individuals but whole nation states, you do it via manipulating their currencies. Issue them as Credit at interest to make them scarce and turn them into “financial products” at varying exchange rates to make them unstable, and you have what we have: an unsustainable system with unsharing (nasty) players at the helm.

    Most sighingly yours,


    There are as we’ve seen many paths to a Gaian future. That is, there are many scholars who see the need of such a radical change. But, as the saying goes “it’s easier to act your way into a new way of thinking than to think your way into a new way of acting.” But there are many social innovations that are showing us the way. In the next chapters we’ll explore a few. There is no more crucial or compelling element of our culture needing radical transformation than economics. And it is happening. Far too much has been written on “corporate greed” than we could cover here. Nor is it the purpose of this book to dwell on the failure, and sometimes evil, of the “dominator paradigm,” outlined in Chapter 1. Nevertheless it may be well to remind ourselves of the history of economics before reviewing some of the alternatives to economics.
    Producing and distributing goods and services within their communities has been the primary human activity since humans first formed bands for self-protection some 5 million years ago. Cooperative hunting and gathering, as well as protection, was a prime human undertaking even before human brains evolved, invented tools, and initiated the use of fire 150 thousand years ago. For most of that time, including much of the past 2000 or so years, humans worked without the thought of ownership, or self-interest. For those who lived, their survival and well-being was recognized as being dependent on the survival and well-being of their tribe or community. They were dependent on cooperation. Only in the past 200 or so years have self-interest, competition, and material accumulation been the overridding human goals. In the current age the exchange of money for goods and services has come to rule economics. The purpose of human life has become one of getting, spending, accumulating and conspicuous consumption — having more than one’s friends or neighbors,

    Before democracy was initiated in America in the 1775 public ownership was limited to the divine rights of kings. During the age of colonization the kings of European nations sent their ships around the world to conquer new lands and new people. Their goal and success was measured in the tons of gold or other valued booty brought back to enrich the thrones of Europe. Privateers or pirates were part of the kings’ dominions. To give some royal cover for this looting, the British established the East Indian Company. The East India Company was an early joint-stock company chartered by Elizabeth I on December 31, 1600. It’s purpose was to promote discovery and trade with India. To make money for its owners The Royal Charter gave the private company a 21 year monopoly on trade in the East Indies. The Company took on not only commercial ventures but it also assumed the powers government in the name of the queen, It assumed the British military might until the Indian Rebellion in 1857 and its dissolution in 1858.
    This model of private ownership and corporate power was assumed by other nations as they captured control of all the land around the world. Other royal charters like the Hudson Bay Charter, the Massachusetts charter and others rapidly unified control of America. Here the The American Revolution almost put an end to the domination of royal charters. The American colonies resented the power the British corporations held over their manufacturing factories. They resented the corporate military domination of their cities. They resented their lack of freedom to control their own lives. In general they resented the power of British corporations and the British government in all aspects of their lives. The American Revolutionary War was a war to rid America not only of the power of the crown, but even more to get rid it of the power of corporations. The Declaration of Independence was an effort to free America from not only the divine right of kings but also from the corporate greed of the wealthy. It pitted we-the-people against corporate greed. Among the stated grievance against the crown the Declaration stated “He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation.”
    “We-the-people” in the American Declaration of Independence was not primarily a statement of individual freedom and liberty. It was a rejection of the power of the King and of his corporations chartered by him to bring wealth from, and to control land and resources beyond European shores. These were cruel an inhuman regimes. In America they consisted of a few British elite with mass populations brought from the slums, streets, poorhouses, and prison of England. In England corporate-owned militia swept the streets for vagabonds, criminals, and children to be indentured servants in the New World. The East India Company, the Virginia Company, the Massachusetts Company and other European corporations ran inhuman prison like detention in America. Punishments for criticizing or uprising against corporate government was punished by severe lashings, cutting off toes or fingers, or piercing the tongue so that the miscreant starved to death. In one account of 3,570 indentured colonists sent to join 700 already here only 900 were alive in 3 years, The Boston Tea Party was only one example of many street level uprising objecting to the harsh treatment.
    In writing the U.S. Constitution the power over corporate charters was left to the individual states. It was believed that the strong wording of the Declaration of Independence for We-the-people had ended corporate greed forever.
    There was a brief period after the writing of the U.S. Constitution when the corporation was issued and controlled by local communities. The corporation then was limited to performing functions wanted by the local communities. Corporations were restricted in their capital value to usually $50,000 or so. The stockholders were in control and were liable for any crimes on misdemeanors of the corporations. Corporations had to stick to a narrow charter, and could not buy out competitors or other corporations. A corporation charter could be canceled by the people if it did not perform for the public good. Slowly but surely the courts, with the permission of the elite Congress, whittled away the “public good” and other requirements for corporations. Finally in 1886 the Supreme Court gave full personhood to corporations. The Supreme Court ruling in Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad read “Corporations are persons within the intent of the clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which forbids a State to deny to any “person” within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. That Amendment had been written only to assure the equal rights of freed slaves. The personhood of the corporation has since been extended to give corporations more freedom and rights than is given to actual human blood, flesh, and soul persons.
    The war between Corporate Greed and We-the-people has been central to the discussion of government ever since. Even before the personhood of corporations. Abraham Lincoln in 1864 had written: “I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. As a result of the war, corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.”
    To counter the court’s action, promote competition and lower prices, the Congress in 1980 passed the Sherman Anti Trust Act. This act declared it illegal for corporations to form monopolies, to buy stock in competitors, or otherwise reduce competition in the market. Little use was paid to this Act until “trust buster,” President Teddy Roosevelt, mounted both an Administrational and a Congressional attack on vested interest with his anti merger campaign. In 1902, Roosevelt shocked financiers on Wall Street with his decision to approve the government’s lawsuit against Northern Securities, a large and recently merged western railroad company. This angered J.P. Morgan, the financier who had arranged the merger, and other American plutocrats. The courts again took their side of the banking and oil barons so the antirust movement languished again.
    President Franklin D. Roosevelt noted that “We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals; we know now that it is bad economics.” And President Eisenhower produced a flurry of interest in his 1990 farewell address to the nation. He warned that “we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations. … This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society. … In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex….”
    In his 2003 anti-corporation book, Gangs of America, Ted Nace, as the book jacket says, “likens the personhood of the corporation to a Frankenstein, — an immortal pseudo-person created by human will, but with powers beyond human control. This amoral intelligent being is slowly and surely abrogating human freedom and human rights. Taking over all it means to be human, Even the CEOs who enrich themselves by serving this false god, do not live, as they do, beyond a human lifetime. Nace calls for an uprising to restore humans to their rightful place in Gaia. As one step toward this end he suggests that Isimov’s Three Laws of Robotics, conceived to forestal the possible take over by robots with artificial intelligence from destroying human existence. Nace would substitute “corporations” for “robots.” They would then read:
    1) A [corporation] cannot do injury a human being nor through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
    2) A [corporation] must obey the laws given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with Law 1.
    3) A [corporation] must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with Laws 1 or 2.
    Somewhat similar actions are not only feasible but are happening.”

    Before looking at some of the options we might correct a possible false impression of our tirade on corporate greed. The corporate greed we’ve talked about is not of individuals. We firmly believe that no person is out to be evil. Even the Mafia and street gangs see themselves as doing good within their cultures. Corporate managers are even more restricted by the laws of the land that defines the legal purpose of their corporations. It is to make a profit and grow. The Supreme Court ruling of 1886 changed the face of America and made it the Frankenstein that brought on the 2008 and other economic breakdowns. It remains to be seen if President Obama can assume the mantle of President Teddy Roosevelt or FDR and return America to the power of the people.
    The 2008 bailouts of the corporation, banks, and other organizations that were “to big to let fail” has been a vicious reminder that “change” is needed. Whether to most intelligent leaders can break the hold of the corporate enterprise on the government as well as the production and distribution of goods and services remains to be seen.

    ******************* End Chapter 9 *****************
    from “A Gaian Paradigm” available on amazon.com

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