Introduction to interest and debt
Interest-bearing debt is not encouraged in the schools of thought that place emphasis upon moral values due to the harms they do to the social, political and economic harmony of the society. Almost all religious and philosophical approaches in the history have opposed the practice of interest for various reasons. Despite this strong opposition, however, interest remained in practice which makes the issue of interest one primary source of controversy in the study of economic history. Interestingly, there is only a small number of analyses focusing on the root causes of the interest-bearing debt. Seeking to fill this gap, this study examines the arguments raised by major religions and civilizations in relation to interest ban in a historical analysis. To this end, this research analyzes the relevant theological and philosophical arguments advanced to address the interest ban from a broad perspective inclusive of ancient civilizations including Sumerians, Babylonians, Assyrians, Ancient Egypt and Far East civilizations.