chapter  Chapter 11
14 Pages

Interest and debt in the ancient era

WithMurat Ustaoğlu, Abdüsselam Sağın

Debt transactions have taken different shapes in accordance with the economic options in the history. The extreme profit margin associated with interest led to a growing interest in professions such as usury. On the other side the abnormal interest costs in the agricultural economies of the ancient times caused serious problems within the society. Due to the problems in repayment of the debt on interest, people lost their assets, and in some cases, their freedoms as well. The riots that erupted due to such problems posed threats to the political authorities. Rulers in ancient times, aware of such problems, introduced measures to address the situation. These efforts, often missing the moral dimension of the issue, failed to offer permanent solutions. The interest-bearing debts sometimes led to a total collapse in ancient civilizations. The historical experience in these civilizations shows that unless alternative methods are employed properly, demand for interest-bearing debt will never vanish.