Regular readers will be well aware of my excoriating views on the practice of usury — the making of gain (profit) from money; the unnatural “birth of money from money”.
In this, I happily find myself to be in esteemed company.
With all the forefathers of Western thought and jurisprudence (Plato, Aristotle, Cato, Cicero, Seneca, Plutarch, et al).
With the religious divines of all times and places (Buddha, Moses, Vashishtha, Jesus, Mohammed, Aquinas, Luther, and many more).
And … with Adolf Hitler.
(Do I have your attention now?)
I have no doubt that very few, if any, Australian readers would know that the central plank in the economic policy platform of The National Socialist German Workers’ Party, was the abolition of usury.
That following the devastating impacts of losing World War I, the crushingly punitive war reparations imposed by the Treaty of Versailles, and the resultant hyperinflation of the Weimar Republic, the economic policies introduced by the NSDA on coming to power inspired what is arguably the greatest, and most rapid economic transformation of a nation in modern history.
Or that — if we choose to first set aside our conditioned prejudices, and consider the matter with cool impartiality — we will discover that many of us would support precisely the same economic policies, in response to the economic challenges of our own times.
Before we get to those policies, let us first consider the following commentary/introduction by Pedert Gottfried in “The Program of the NSDA”, The National Socialist German Workers’ Party and its General Conceptions, translated by E.T.S. Digdale, Fritz Eher Verlag, Munich, 1932.
Read without prejudice.
I have included underlines for emphasis:
Adolf Hitler prints the Party Program’s two main points in leaded type: “The Common Interest Before Self: The Spirit of the Program” and, “Abolition of the Thralldom of Interest: The Core of National Socialism.” Once these two points are achieved, it means a victory of the approaching universalist ordering of society in the true state over the present-day separation of state, nation and economics under the corrupting influence of the individualist theory of society as now constructed.
The sham state of today, oppressing the working classes and protecting the pirated gains of bankers and stock exchange speculators, is the area for reckless private enrichment and for the lowest political profiteering; it gives no thought to its people, and provides no high moral bond of union. The power of money, most ruthless of all powers, holds absolute control, and exercises corrupting, destroying influence on state, nation, society, morals, drama, literature and on all matters of morality, less easy to estimate.
“Break down the thralldom of interest” is our war cry. What do we mean by thralldom of interest? The landowner is under this thralldom, who has to raise loans to finance his farming operations, loans at such high interest as almost to eat up the results of his labor or who is forced to make debts and to drag the mortgages after him like so much weight of lead.
So is the worker producing in shops and factories for a pittance, whilst the shareholder draws dividends and bonuses which he has not worked for. So is the earning middle class, whose work goes almost entirely to pay the interest on bank overdrafts.
Thralldom of interest is the real expression for the antagonisms, capital versus labor, blood versus money, creative work versus exploitation. The necessity of breaking this thralldom is of such vast importance for our nation and our race, that on it alone depends our nation’s hope of rising up from its shame and slavery; in fact, the hope of recovering happiness, prosperity and civilization through out the world. It is the pivot on which everything turns; it is far more than a mere necessity of financial policy. Whilst its principles and consequences bite deep into political and economic life, it is a leading question for economic study, and thus affects every single individual and demands a decision from each one: Service to the nation or unlimited private enrichment. It means a solution of the Social Question.
Our financial principle: Finance shall exist for the benefit of the state; the financial magnates shall not form a state within the state. Hence our aim to break the thralldom of interest.
Relief of the state, and hence of the nation, from its indebtedness to the great financial houses, which lend on interest.
Nationalization of the Reichsbank [central bank] and the issuing houses [commercial banks], which lend on interest.
Provision of money for all great public objects (waterpower, railroads etc), not by means of loans, but by granting non-interest bearing state bonds or without using ready money.
Introduction of a fixed standard of currency on a secured basis.
Creation of a national bank of business development for granting non-interest bearing loans.
Fundamental remodeling of the system of taxation on social-economic principles. Relief of the consumer from the burden of indirect taxation, and of the producer from crippling taxation.
Wanton printing of bank notes, without creating new values, means inflation. We all lived through it. But the correct conclusion is that an issue of non-interest-bearing bonds by the state cannot produce inflation if new values are at the same time created.
The fact that today great economic enterprises cannot be set on foot without recourse to loans is sheer lunacy. Here is where reasonable use of the state’s right to produce money which might produce most beneficial results.
Let it be clearly understood, gentle reader, that my statement of agreement with the above is just that.
Agreement with the above. In particular, with the underlined passages.
Hence, a polite request.
Please do not insult my intelligence, and more importantly, your own, by falsely conflating my agreement with the above, with any contrived notion or implication that this somehow also constitutes an approval — tacit, or otherwise — of any other words (much less, actions) of the German state of the 1930’s – 1940’s.
I have one observation to make in that regard.
And it is this.
It is entirely possible — indeed, it is exceedingly common — for a person (and by extension, a nation) to be right in principle, but wrong in practice.
Which is why I condemn the (a)moral code, cherished by power-hungry sociopaths of all stations in life, which asserts that “the Ends justify the Means”.
It may now be of interest to the discerning reader, to consider thoughtfully and without prejudice the first of the economic policy demands listed in the NSDA’s 25 point “Program” of 1932 (underline added):
Therefore we demand:
11. That all unearned income, and all income that does not arise from work, be abolished.
Breaking the Bondage of Interest
12. Since every war imposes on the people fearful sacrifices in blood and treasure, all personal profit arising from the war must be regarded as treason to the people. We therefore demand the total confiscation of all war profits.
13. We demand the nationalization of all trusts.
14. We demand profit-sharing in large industries.
15. We demand a generous increase in old-age pensions.
16. We demand the creation and maintenance of a sound middle-class, the immediate communalization of large stores which will be rented cheaply to small tradespeople, and the strongest consideration must be given to ensure that small traders shall deliver the supplies needed by the State, the provinces and municipalities.
17. We demand an agrarian reform in accordance with our national requirements, and the enactment of a law to expropriate the owners without compensation of any land needed for the common purpose. The abolition of ground rents, and the prohibition of all speculation in land.
18. We demand that ruthless war be waged against those who work to the injury of the common welfare. Traitors, usurers, profiteers, etc., are to be punished with death, regardless of creed or race.
20. In order to make it possible for every capable and industrious German to obtain higher education, and thus the opportunity to reach into positions of leadership, the State must assume the responsibility of organizing thoroughly the entire cultural system of the people. The curricula of all educational establishments shall be adapted to practical life. The conception of the State Idea (science of citizenship) must be taught in the schools from the very beginning. We demand that specially talented children of poor parents, whatever their station or occupation, be educated at the expense of the State.
21. The State has the duty to help raise the standard of national health by providing maternity welfare centers, by prohibiting juvenile labor, by increasing physical fitness through the introduction of compulsory games and gymnastics, and by the greatest possible encouragement of associations concerned with the physical education of the young.
Would you be inclined to support any of these economic policies, here in our own times?