chapter  Chapter 5
12 Pages

Social costs of interest-bearing debt in Ancient Greece

WithMuhammet Sait Bozik, Ferda Güvenilir

The coastal cities engaged in trade and particularly export and import activities in Ancient Greece also host a number of interest-bearing debt activities. The people who mainly perform agricultural and husbandry activities sell their products in the local markets set up in the urban areas. The poor people who do not own lands borrow money with a very high interest rate in order to lease land they use for agricultural production. Due to the strict rules of the time, many people fall victim of slavery practices associated with debt. As a response, philosophers and thinkers of Ancient Greek including Plato and Aristoteles propose the view that money cannot be treated as a commodity of production and that it should not be proliferated. Despite reactions and riots in connection with slavery practices, there is no written text on the harms of interest. On the other hand, money exchangers and temples perform many activities that can be now associated with modern banking and expand their sphere of influence.