Campus Units

Philosophy and Religious Studies

Document Type

Article

Publication Version

Published Version

Publication Date

2018

Journal or Book Title

Finance and Society

Volume

4

Issue

1

First Page

41

Last Page

59

DOI

10.2218/finsoc.v4i1.2739

Abstract

This article examines the conceptual transformation of what was once considered usury into finance. To counter traditional arguments that usury was exploitative and unnatural, early modern theorists reconceptualized debt as a form of investment for both borrowers and lenders. Today, this ethical justification of debt as an investment underlies the rhetoric of finance and financialization. Close examination of the realities of contemporary financialized debt, however, reveal that much of this rhetoric is misleading and false. While the rhetoric of finance is unrelentingly oriented toward the future, the lived reality of debt is one of being constrained and haunted by the past. Relatedly, this rhetoric exhorts borrowing for investment, while finance has actually had the opposite effect of making consumer debt a necessity for the majority of Americans. Taken together, these realities of debt today contradict the rhetoric of finance as investment and undermine the ethical framework on which it depends.

Comments

This article is published as Padgett-Walsh, K. “Transforming Usury into Finance: Financialization and the Ethics of Debt,” Finance and Society 4:1 (2018) DOI: 10.2218/finsoc.v4i1.2739.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Copyright Owner

The Author(s)

Language

en

File Format

application/pdf

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