Cross-posted from Applied Philosophy, by author Anonemiss (my bold emphasis added):
I discovered on the exceedingly excellent website of Project Gutenberg a book, that although written 110 years ago, speaks to the heart of our modern economy problems. The book is called Usury: A Scriptural, Ethical and Economic View by Calvin Elliott. I was surprised by how much my own writings about usury follows his arguments. Of course no book about usury could bypass Francis Bacon’s attempt at legitimizing it:
The dictum of Bacon that “Usury gathers the wealth of the realm into few hands” is readily proven and fully verified in the experience of these times. The tendency to centralization under a system of usury or interest-taking is so strong, and the modern result so apparent that the statement only is necessary.
Usury not only enslaves the borrower and oppresses the poor who are innocent of all debt, but it also affects the rich by gathering the wealth of the wealthy into fewer and fewer hands. There is a centralizing draft that threatens and then finally absorbs the smaller fortunes into one colossal financial power. It is as futile to resist this as to resist fate. Wealth cannot be so fortified and guarded as to successfully resist the attack of superior wealth when the practice of usury is permitted. The smaller and weaker fortune, using the same weapon as the larger and stronger, must inevitably be defeated and overcome, and ultimately absorbed.
Rates of interest do not affect the ultimate result. Under a high rate the gathering is rapid, under a low rate the accretions are slower, but the gathering into few hands is none the less sure. Rates of interest only place the convergent center at a nearer or more remote period.
I advise all readers to study this book (do not be put off by the religious chapters at the start and continue to the purely economic arguments in the later chapter).