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Sorry if this has been posted :$

 

A Skyline Reviews interview from Rock Wercher and clips from the gig!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5LOT9Uo68Y

 

Another good interview. Thanks. :D Enjoyed the clips too. :D I think I like the idea of it being illegal to lend money with interest. I doubt it would ever happen in the West though.

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i didn't see the program on canvas :( was this the whole part on muse? or was there more?

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Thanks! :D

 

"Look in the mirror and think, FREDDIE MERCURY. :eek:" :LOL:

"Did you ever think of smashing up piano?" :LOL:

I like this interviewer.

 

Wish they kept the New Born solo in. Iirc, I particularly liked the one at this gig.

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i didn't see the program on canvas :( was this the whole part on muse? or was there more?

 

I missed it on sunday but they repeat it on thursday

check the tv guide:)

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More political-economic utopian nonsense. Interest is what the banking industry charges in exchange for risk, Matt... if you make it illegal to charge interest, no one will have any financial incentive to invest funds in new businesses (or old ones, even). But since increases in property values (and other things, like precious metals and collectibles) would presumably be left alone under the new economic world order, the usury laws would tend to foster unprecedented economic bubbles in the markets for such tangible things, which would have their own disastrous and market-distorting effects.

 

ON EDIT, I just thought of another gross market distortion that would certainly arise: the shift of investment funds from privately owned businesses (including most family-owned businesses), to the publicly incorporated and traded multinational behemoths which I suspect lay behind much of Matt's discontent with corporate capitalism in the first place. A bar on interest per se wouldn't touch the capital gains from stock-market trades, so a "usury" ban would lead to even more investment in the Fortune 500-type companies and a general strengthening in their market position, accompanied by the simultaneous strangling-at-birth of the myriad tiny companies that otherwise might pose some long-term competition to them. Who here wants to see even more overheated and volatile stock markets, and even more arrogant displays of corporate power?

 

And don't get me started on the many-centuries-old intellectual tradition of couching critiques of "usury" in anti-semitic language and discourse. Certainly not all critics of "usury" have approached it from that perspective or had an anti-semitic agenda, but you really do have to be careful when dipping into that subject that you're getting your info and opinions from a reputable source. (Really, in the 21rst century, I should think a more politically-correct and value-neutral term like "interest-bearing lending/investment" or, if you're talking about indisputably exploitative practices, terms like "exploitative lending," "loan-sharking," etc. would be s.o.p.).

 

Worryingly, much the same thing can be said of conspiracy literature in general...

Edited by Trilateral_Symmetry_Com'n.

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More political-economic utopian nonsense. Interest is what the banking industry charges in exchange for risk, Matt... if you make it illegal to charge interest, no one will have any financial incentive to invest funds in new businesses (or old ones, even). But since increases in property values (and other things, like precious metals and collectibles) would presumably be left alone under the new economic world order, the usury laws would tend to foster unprecedented economic bubbles in the markets for such tangible things, which would have their own disastrous and market-distorting effects.

 

ON EDIT, I just thought of another gross market distortion that would certainly arise: the shift of investment funds from privately owned businesses (including most family-owned businesses), to the publicly incorporated and traded multinational behemoths which I suspect lay behind much of Matt's discontent with corporate capitalism in the first place. A bar on interest per se wouldn't touch the capital gains from stock-market trades, so a "usury" ban would lead to even more investment in the Fortune 500-type companies and a general strengthening in their market position, accompanied by the simultaneous strangling-at-birth of the myriad tiny companies that otherwise might pose some long-term competition to them. Who here wants to see even more overheated and volatile stock markets, and even more arrogant displays of corporate power?

 

And don't get me started on the many-centuries-old intellectual tradition of couching critiques of "usury" in anti-semitic language and discourse. Certainly not all critics of "usury" have approached it from that perspective or had an anti-semitic agenda, but you really do have to be careful when dipping into that subject that you're getting your info and opinions from a reputable source. (Really, in the 21rst century, I should think a more politically-correct and value-neutral term like "interest-bearing lending/investment" or, if you're talking about indisputably exploitative practices, terms like "exploitative lending," "loan-sharking," etc. would be s.o.p.).

 

Worryingly, much the same thing can be said of conspiracy literature in general...

 

*nods in agreement*

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More political-economic utopian nonsense. Interest is what the banking industry charges in exchange for risk' date='[/b'] Matt... if you make it illegal to charge interest, no one will have any financial incentive to invest funds in new businesses (or old ones, even). But since increases in property values (and other things, like precious metals and collectibles) would presumably be left alone under the new economic world order, the usury laws would tend to foster unprecedented economic bubbles in the markets for such tangible things, which would have their own disastrous and market-distorting effects.

 

ON EDIT, I just thought of another gross market distortion that would certainly arise: the shift of investment funds from privately owned businesses (including most family-owned businesses), to the publicly incorporated and traded multinational behemoths which I suspect lay behind much of Matt's discontent with corporate capitalism in the first place. A bar on interest per se wouldn't touch the capital gains from stock-market trades, so a "usury" ban would lead to even more investment in the Fortune 500-type companies and a general strengthening in their market position, accompanied by the simultaneous strangling-at-birth of the myriad tiny companies that otherwise might pose some long-term competition to them. Who here wants to see even more overheated and volatile stock markets, and even more arrogant displays of corporate power?

 

And don't get me started on the many-centuries-old intellectual tradition of couching critiques of "usury" in anti-semitic language and discourse. Certainly not all critics of "usury" have approached it from that perspective or had an anti-semitic agenda, but you really do have to be careful when dipping into that subject that you're getting your info and opinions from a reputable source. (Really, in the 21rst century, I should think a more politically-correct and value-neutral term like "interest-bearing lending/investment" or, if you're talking about indisputably exploitative practices, terms like "exploitative lending," "loan-sharking," etc. would be s.o.p.).

 

Worryingly, much the same thing can be said of conspiracy literature in general...

 

Banks do not charge interest in exchange for risk. That is how they make their money. We're going to loan out $10,000 of our other costumers to you, and to make sure we get it all back, we're going to charge you 7.5% interest, so we end up with a lot more money than we gave out. It's ridiculous. If someone has bad credit/no credit and they still give this person a loan with a high interest rate, is it more likely that this person will be able to pay it off? Most likely this person is going to have a harder time paying it off than if it didn't have the interest rate in the first place. It may be claimed as a "risk" factor, but it most certainly is not.

 

If interest rates were made illegal, there would be a fixed rate of cash flow coming from investments. Investors would not have to worry about losing money in their investments, but they would also not get a chance to revel in stock prices going up therefore increasing their cash flow. I would still invest if I knew I didn't have a chance of those stock prices going down and decreasing my cash flow.

 

These big "behemoth" (lol) corporations always have a pretty consistently low interest rate while small business are less predictable for their earnings. Most people are always more likely to invest in the bigger investments anyway. Banning interest rates would I think even the playing field because people can take chances on those smaller businesses.

 

Also, you like to use a lot of mumbo jumbo words that have no meaning, or at least you don't explain what the hell you're talking about..

But since increases in property values (and other things, like precious metals and collectibles) would presumably be left alone under the new economic world order, the usury laws would tend to foster unprecedented economic bubbles in the markets for such tangible things, which would have their own disastrous and market-distorting effects.

 

New economic world order? :LOL:

 

Overall, interest rates are bollocks.

 

And I'm half asleep right now, I don't even know if what I said made sense. But I do know it made more sense than what was said by Trilateral_Symmetry_Com'n.

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I just cannot believe some of the words that Trialteral (or however you spell it) used so many obscene adjectives. I can't stop laughing. :LOL:

 

Fortune 500-type companies and a general strengthening in their market position, accompanied by the simultaneous strangling-at-birth of the myriad tiny companies that otherwise might pose some long-term competition to them.

 

:LOL:

 

I'm sorry, I'm just tired.

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For someone that spends so much time in the lolz thread, she's too often unintentionally funny. :p

 

eh, whatever.

 

so anyway.... Matt's looking verrrry thin in that video. :erm:

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i didn't see the program on canvas :( was this the whole part on muse? or was there more?

 

this was the whole part, they repeat it on Thursday :)

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More political-economic utopian nonsense. Interest is what the banking industry charges in exchange for risk, Matt... if you make it illegal to charge interest, no one will have any financial incentive to invest funds in new businesses (or old ones, even). But since increases in property values (and other things, like precious metals and collectibles) would presumably be left alone under the new economic world order, the usury laws would tend to foster unprecedented economic bubbles in the markets for such tangible things, which would have their own disastrous and market-distorting effects.

 

ON EDIT, I just thought of another gross market distortion that would certainly arise: the shift of investment funds from privately owned businesses (including most family-owned businesses), to the publicly incorporated and traded multinational behemoths which I suspect lay behind much of Matt's discontent with corporate capitalism in the first place. A bar on interest per se wouldn't touch the capital gains from stock-market trades, so a "usury" ban would lead to even more investment in the Fortune 500-type companies and a general strengthening in their market position, accompanied by the simultaneous strangling-at-birth of the myriad tiny companies that otherwise might pose some long-term competition to them. Who here wants to see even more overheated and volatile stock markets, and even more arrogant displays of corporate power?

 

And don't get me started on the many-centuries-old intellectual tradition of couching critiques of "usury" in anti-semitic language and discourse. Certainly not all critics of "usury" have approached it from that perspective or had an anti-semitic agenda, but you really do have to be careful when dipping into that subject that you're getting your info and opinions from a reputable source. (Really, in the 21rst century, I should think a more politically-correct and value-neutral term like "interest-bearing lending/investment" or, if you're talking about indisputably exploitative practices, terms like "exploitative lending," "loan-sharking," etc. would be s.o.p.).

 

Worryingly, much the same thing can be said of conspiracy literature in general...

 

Can't begin to get my head round this post, and wouldn't pretend to know much about economics, but I know that in Islamic countries charging interest on loans is illegal. When I first heard about it, I thought it sounded a cool way to go about things. I'm pretty anti-capitalist and I think the way the banks fucked up and we've all ended up paying for it is terrible, particularly as the services that will be cut are most likely going to affect the most vulnerable as is always the way. But everyone just lays back and takes it, says there's nothing that can be done, it's the economy etc. And I have to think, who is it that all these countries owe money too? Also money doesn't even exist, it's just numbers on a computer. We have one world, why can't countries support each other? It just seems ridiculous that the majority of the world is having to cut their services, including America I imagine as America, always seen as the rich country is also in huge debt I understand. How can everyone be in debt with no one reaping the rewards? Somewhere there must be people reaping the rewards.

 

On a more basic level, Marx talked about the fetishism of commodities and that is exactly what has happened I think with consumerism. With advancing technology there's a spiral of production of new items and everyone is being persuaded that they need all this stuff to be happy as part of their identity and to have the right kind of lifestyle and, if they can't afford it, money lending has allowed them to acquire it, but at a cost. It's not a conspiracy, it's Capitalism, a system in which the consumer is basically being used. Maybe that's where the term "usary" comes from. I can't in a million years see how it can be anti-semetic. I wonder if that is tied up with the conflict between Western individualistic and Islamic collective lifestyles.

 

I admire Matt for putting his views out there.

Edited by CarrieB

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ok thanks for the reply :)

 

oh, and about those really long bank-related-discussions: tl;dr :D

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Oh, btw, I recall something about how there's also 0% interest in Japan or something, not sure if usury is outright illegal or not though. Don't claim to know anything about this stuff though, just random information in my head...

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I admire Matt for putting his views out there.

 

Me too - at least he has something to say unlike most "celebs" that are out there.

 

As I understood the notion he is trying to get across is the idea that you can lend money for financial gain as long as it is part of an investment i.e you a get a return from the success of the product/service or whatever is it, more like equity loans rather than just "here's your money, do what you like with it" loans that have a fixed amount of interest.

 

I think it encourages investing in a future that has a tangable return rather than just endlessly funding wants and desires that many people cannot legitmately afford.

 

I would love to talk to Matt about what goes on in his head but then I think it could be a bit overwhelming! You can see from other interviews that Dom has pretty much given up trying to get a word in and just lets him spout for as long as he wants!

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Banks do not charge interest in exchange for risk. That is how they make their money. We're going to loan out $10,000 of our other costumers to you, and to make sure we get it all back, we're going to charge you 7.5% interest, so we end up with a lot more money than we gave out. It's ridiculous. If someone has bad credit/no credit and they still give this person a loan with a high interest rate, is it more likely that this person will be able to pay it off? Most likely this person is going to have a harder time paying it off than if it didn't have the interest rate in the first place. It may be claimed as a "risk" factor, but it most certainly is not.

 

If interest rates were made illegal, there would be a fixed rate of cash flow coming from investments. Investors would not have to worry about losing money in their investments, but they would also not get a chance to revel in stock prices going up therefore increasing their cash flow. I would still invest if I knew I didn't have a chance of those stock prices going down and decreasing my cash flow.

 

These big "behemoth" (lol) corporations always have a pretty consistently low interest rate while small business are less predictable for their earnings. Most people are always more likely to invest in the bigger investments anyway. Banning interest rates would I think even the playing field because people can take chances on those smaller businesses.

 

Also, you like to use a lot of mumbo jumbo words that have no meaning, or at least you don't explain what the hell you're talking about..

 

 

New economic world order? :LOL:

 

Overall, interest rates are bollocks.

 

And I'm half asleep right now, I don't even know if what I said made sense. But I do know it made more sense than what was said by Trilateral_Symmetry_Com'n.

 

 

Where to begin? Maybe I should just counter your ignorant assertions, point by point:

 

1) When a bank charges a "ridiculous" 7.5% interest rate on a business loan, it's to cover not just their own expenses and profit, but the 2-3% interest payout on deposits on savings accounts and the 5% interest payout on certificates of deposit, among other things. (If the bank is publicly incorporated, they're also scrambling to keep their stockholders happy with high dividends.) Without the modest incentive offered to depositors, banks would find it difficult to attract depositors. "Trust your money with ___ Bank -- we don't pay any interest, but it's still safer than stashing it under the mattress!" isn't a winning advertising slogan. (Except, maybe, in Japan... but that's another matter entirely.)

 

2) Not all loans are paid back in full, either (duh!). In the US, some 80% of all new restaurants fail (go out of business) within five years. Some sectors of the economy are notorious for their uneven, boom-and-bust cycles -- construction, automotive manufacturing, and the hospitality industry are all vulnerable in this way. The variable rates of interest charged on these loans reflects the variable levels of risk across a range of criteria used to assess the riskiness of the investment.

 

3a)"If interest rates were made illegal, there would be a fixed rate of cash flow coming from investments." Oh really? What investments, exactly? If anti-interest (I refuse to use the derogatory term "usury" without quote marks or in a contemporary context) laws were passed here, strictly speaking, prior investments would continue to yield their interest-bearing dividends, unless the new laws in question violated the ex post facto principle. But the financial incentive for any further investment of the direct-business-loan variety would dry up.

 

3b) "Investors would not have to worry about losing money in their investments, but they would also not get a chance to revel in stock prices going up therefore increasing their cash flow." This is just incoherent. There is no such thing as a risk-free investment. The closest thing to that that exists are government-backed savings programs like the simple savings deposit (guaranteed up to $100,000 per account per bank), CDs, and T[u.S. Treasury] bills and the like. Plus you seem to be confusing business lending with stock-market speculation, and further failing to understand anything about how stocks work. Anti-"usury" laws would do nothing directly to guarantee stocks and bonds as an investment -- although such laws would encourage a massive shift in resources away from traditional banks (of the S&L and community bank variety) in favor of investment banks and brokerages.

 

4) "Most people are always more likely to invest in the bigger investments anyway. Banning interest rates would I think even the playing field because people can take chances on those smaller businesses." Eh? Individuals generally don't lend directly to businesses, unless there's a personal (familial, typically) tie involved, and even those loans can sometimes involve a modest rate of interest. When people really need or expect a dividend on their investment, though, they usually invest in the market -- either by purchasing stocks directly, or by investing in a mutual fund. And yes, those publicly-traded stocks involve big corporations (as opposed to your cousin Bob's Bait & Tackle shop). Again, you're confusing direct business investment with playing the market. A ban on interest would make it virtually impossible for small businesses to get loans (except from friends and family), period.

 

5) "Also, you like to use a lot of mumbo jumbo words that have no meaning, or at least you don't explain what the hell you're talking about..

 

 

New economic world order? :LOL:"

 

Too bad for you that rudeness and insults are no substitute for reasoned arguments. It's evident to me that you don't have the slightest understanding of this subject, though. As for my reference to a "new economic world order," don't be so obtuse. That was simply shorthand for Matt's hypothetical and desired reforms effecting an interest-free world. That can't be accomplished by a mere ban on "usury" in one country, because capital is fungible, multinationals are opportunistic, and wealthy individuals are mobile. A comprehensive anti-usury policy in, say, Great Britain would simply encourage the big multinational corporations and the wealthiest Britons to pull up stakes and re-establish themselves elsewhere. Hence the hypothetical, "if Matt could have his way, snap his fingers, and have his hypothetical situation exactly as he wants it" new world order.

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Where to begin? Maybe I should just counter your ignorant assertions, point by point:

 

1) When a bank charges a "ridiculous" 7.5% interest rate on a business loan, it's to cover not just their own expenses and profit, but the 2-3% interest payout on deposits on savings accounts and the 5% interest payout on certificates of deposit, among other things. (If the bank is publicly incorporated, they're also scrambling to keep their stockholders happy with high dividends.) Without the modest incentive offered to depositors, banks would find it difficult to attract depositors. "Trust your money with ___ Bank -- we don't pay any interest, but it's still safer than stashing it under the mattress!" isn't a winning advertising slogan. (Except, maybe, in Japan... but that's another matter entirely.)

 

2) Not all loans are paid back in full, either (duh!). In the US, some 80% of all new restaurants fail (go out of business) within five years. Some sectors of the economy are notorious for their uneven, boom-and-bust cycles -- construction, automotive manufacturing, and the hospitality industry are all vulnerable in this way. The variable rates of interest charged on these loans reflects the variable levels of risk across a range of criteria used to assess the riskiness of the investment.

 

3a)"If interest rates were made illegal, there would be a fixed rate of cash flow coming from investments." Oh really? What investments, exactly? If anti-interest (I refuse to use the derogatory term "usury" without quote marks or in a contemporary context) laws were passed here, strictly speaking, prior investments would continue to yield their interest-bearing dividends, unless the new laws in question violated the ex post facto principle. But the financial incentive for any further investment of the direct-business-loan variety would dry up.

 

3b) "Investors would not have to worry about losing money in their investments, but they would also not get a chance to revel in stock prices going up therefore increasing their cash flow." This is just incoherent. There is no such thing as a risk-free investment. The closest thing to that that exists are government-backed savings programs like the simple savings deposit (guaranteed up to $100,000 per account per bank), CDs, and T[u.S. Treasury] bills and the like. Plus you seem to be confusing business lending with stock-market speculation, and further failing to understand anything about how stocks work. Anti-"usury" laws would do nothing directly to guarantee stocks and bonds as an investment -- although such laws would encourage a massive shift in resources away from traditional banks (of the S&L and community bank variety) in favor of investment banks and brokerages.

 

4) "Most people are always more likely to invest in the bigger investments anyway. Banning interest rates would I think even the playing field because people can take chances on those smaller businesses." Eh? Individuals generally don't lend directly to businesses, unless there's a personal (familial, typically) tie involved, and even those loans can sometimes involve a modest rate of interest. When people really need or expect a dividend on their investment, though, they usually invest in the market -- either by purchasing stocks directly, or by investing in a mutual fund. And yes, those publicly-traded stocks involve big corporations (as opposed to your cousin Bob's Bait & Tackle shop). Again, you're confusing direct business investment with playing the market. A ban on interest would make it virtually impossible for small businesses to get loans (except from friends and family), period.

 

5) "Also, you like to use a lot of mumbo jumbo words that have no meaning, or at least you don't explain what the hell you're talking about..

 

 

New economic world order? :LOL:"

 

Too bad for you that rudeness and insults are no substitute for reasoned arguments. It's evident to me that you don't have the slightest understanding of this subject, though. As for my reference to a "new economic world order," don't be so obtuse. That was simply shorthand for Matt's hypothetical and desired reforms effecting an interest-free world. That can't be accomplished by a mere ban on "usury" in one country, because capital is fungible, multinationals are opportunistic, and wealthy individuals are mobile. A comprehensive anti-usury policy in, say, Great Britain would simply encourage the big multinational corporations and the wealthiest Britons to pull up stakes and re-establish themselves elsewhere. Hence the hypothetical, "if Matt could have his way, snap his fingers, and have his hypothetical situation exactly as he wants it" new world order.

 

And what makes you so knowledgeable on the subject? You are one of those people that tries to sound intelligent by using big words but really have no meaning attached to them.

 

And also, I pointed out at the end of my post that I knew it did not make any sense, so you shouldn't have taken my post too seriously, which you evidently did.

 

1) please explain the current economic situation in Japan, I would like to know why there that slogan seems to work, but why it wouldn't in the states or in the UK..

 

2) No shit. :rolleyes: That's why banks currently are even less likely to give loans. And depending on the loan, they'll either be fixed or variable. Lets talk about student loans. Student loans from banks are fixed. Private student loans are variable. Depending on a student's credit and or parents' credit, they may not even get the loan for one. But once they get the loan their interest rate is not going to change. And after students are finished with school, they're trapped with these huge amounts of sums they have to pay and on top of that, they have to pay interest. This is the topic I was thinking I about last night when I was talking about loans (I think). I know I wasn't thinking about business or home loans.

 

3) "Plus you seem to be confusing business lending with stock-market speculation, and further failing to understand anything about how stocks work." Investing in the stock market.............where did I talk about business lending in relation to stock?:LOL: Buying stock is an investment...

 

I do have knowledge of economics and the market, supply/demand, etc. I do know the difference between business lending and the stock market. I don't have extensive knowledge of the stock market (which you so evidently do :rolleyes:) but the knowledge I do have is enough to understand that interest rates are not the only thing fueling the stock market. You're main focus seems to be directed at smaller business no longer being able to get loans if interest rates are banned, but I never said that wasn't true. What I did say is that if they were already in the market, they could have more investors potentially.

Smaller business with higher interest rates are going to have a smaller P/E ratio which is going to force people away from investing in those smaller companies. A lower interest rate means a higher P/E ratio, which is what those large corporations already have. Without those interest rates, would that not even the stock market playing field?

 

Again, this is not talking about loans, this now talking about interest rates in the market, which you brought up in your first post. Matt was just talking about loans, and you further extended his comment to the stock market which is what I am now addressing.

 

"A bar on interest per se wouldn't touch the capital gains from stock-market trades, so a "usury" ban would lead to even more investment in the Fortune 500-type companies and a general strengthening in their market position, accompanied by the simultaneous strangling-at-birth of the myriad tiny companies that otherwise might pose some long-term competition to them."

 

The answer lies in your first post. If these smaller businesses were already in the marker, it wouldn't affect those capital gains. Banning interest rates would hamper any starting business from getting a loan, unless banks could figure out a way in which they could get repayment from those small business in another excluding interest. Maybe signing over a percentage of their stock to the bank for an X amount of years. Who knows, I think that might work. It may be risky, but as you say, there's no such thing as a risk free investment. :)

 

And I disagree with your last paragraph, period. "obtuse" Love that as an insult... :LOL:

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This interview makes me really excited for the next album! The resistance was ok imo but a deviation from queen would be welcome in the future.;)

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Can't begin to get my head round this post, and wouldn't pretend to know much about economics, but I know that in Islamic countries charging interest on loans is illegal. When I first heard about it, I thought it sounded a cool way to go about things. I'm pretty anti-capitalist and I think the way the banks fucked up and we've all ended up paying for it is terrible, particularly as the services that will be cut are most likely going to affect the most vulnerable as is always the way. But everyone just lays back and takes it, says there's nothing that can be done, it's the economy etc. And I have to think, who is it that all these countries owe money too? Also money doesn't even exist, it's just numbers on a computer. We have one world, why can't countries support each other? It just seems ridiculous that the majority of the world is having to cut their services, including America I imagine as America, always seen as the rich country is also in huge debt I understand. How can everyone be in debt with no one reaping the rewards? Somewhere there must be people reaping the rewards.

 

On a more basic level, Marx talked about the fetishism of commodities and that is exactly what has happened I think with consumerism. With advancing technology there's a spiral of production of new items and everyone is being persuaded that they need all this stuff to be happy as part of their identity and to have the right kind of lifestyle and, if they can't afford it, money lending has allowed them to acquire it, but at a cost. It's not a conspiracy, it's Capitalism, a system in which the consumer is basically being used. Maybe that's where the term "usary" comes from. I can't in a million years see how it can be anti-semetic. I wonder if that is tied up with the conflict between Western individualistic and Islamic collective lifestyles.

 

I admire Matt for putting his views out there.

 

First, you're referring to sharia banking practices, which I know little about, but my rough understanding of it is that while Muslim banks don't demand interest per se, they reap a profit nonetheless by demanding a share of the business' future profits; they may also demand influence in the managing of the company (akin to being on the board of directors). As economists say, there's no such thing as a free lunch... even if you're having falafel.

 

Second, commodity fetishism is a fertile concept and the subject of much academic interest. You don't have to be a Marxist of the Frankfurt School to appreciate its value in understanding economics, consumerism and capitalism. But it's tangential to the subject of "usury," which historically is rooted in the Bible [esp. the Book of Deuteronomy's passages proscribing the charging of interest to one's "brother" (however narrowly or broadly the word "brother" is interpreted) and the story of Jesus' storming the Temple and overturning the tables of the money-changers or money-lenders (I don't know which is more accurate).] The concept of usury was cemented in early Christendom in the writings of the 4th-century Saints Jerome and Ambrose, who debated the extent to which the Deuteronomic principle (of not exploiting one's brother) should be universalized -- to all Catholics? To all self-professed Christians, even if they were heretics like those Gnostics? To all humanity?

 

Thus usury has been a hotly debated point for literally thousands of years within the Mosaic tradition, and continues to be so. An interesting loophole emerged around the time of the Crusades, when the Vatican permitted Christians to charge interest to Muslims; the law also allowed (perhaps only tacitly, at least at first) for Jews to do likewise to Christians. What followed was several centuries (Early-Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and right through the Elizabethan era) in which Christians who needed money often had nowhere to turn except for the Jewish money-lenders; growing animosities, distrust, resentments, etc. predictably followed -- as did a cavalcade of anti-Semites, ranging from Martin Luther to the fascist poet Ezra Pound to the current head of Hezbollah -- all of whom have inveighed against "usury" as a specifically Jewish evil.

 

I'd like to conclude this with the simple observation that regardless of whatever irrational, racist or utopian laws may be in place for a given time and place, human nature and economics dictate that lending for interest will occur anyway. If the laws are sufficiently draconian, they'll merely succeed in redefining lending as a criminal activity and drive it under the table, where the interest rates (and personal hazards) will be even higher. (Cut to the obvious analogies to narcotics, prostitution, illegal gambling and loan-sharking.)

 

What personally disturbs me about Matt's interest in the subject is my fear that he'll put his foot in it in an interview, and will be taken to task in the mainstream media for a perceived anti-semitism. The resulting stain to his reputation could end up costing him (and his bandmates, let's not forget) literally millions of dollars and much public goodwill. (I personally feel he's very likely innocent of this, but his enduring fascination with conspiracy-theory lit and, now, the "usury" issue do give me pause.)

 

*******

 

Oh, btw, I recall something about how there's also 0% interest in Japan or something, not sure if usury is outright illegal or not though. Don't claim to know anything about this stuff though, just random information in my head...

 

That has nothing to do with usury by any name, but rather with the enduring effects of the collapse of the Japanese real-estate bubble about 20 years ago and their continued economic difficulties generally (especially their continuing job losses in the manufacturing sector to the other "Asian Tigers" and others). There was indeed a point a few years ago in which the Japanese prime lending rate hit 0.0% -- you could keep your savings in a bank and get literally no interest paid on your deposit -- and curiously, many millions of Japanese continued to save at a high rate and deposit their savings in their domestic banks. I don't know anything about the Japanese banking industry, but I imagine that it was some combination of their banking regulations, tax laws and human psychological factors that prevented both the emigration of Japanese capital to foreign banks and hyperinflation. (That, and the fear, perhaps justified, that any money deposited in a foreign bank would not be guaranteed or backed by any government.) I'm sure that economists were fascinated with this situation, though -- it is exceedingly rare for an open, technologically advanced democracy and open society to have 0% interest! -- and I bet they'll be writing papers on the 0% situation and its aftermath for years to come.

Edited by Trilateral_Symmetry_Com'n.

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