“Unleashing Usury”, a new book by Richard Westra

ImmagineHow Finance Opened the Door for Capitalism, Then Swallowed It Whole

USURY / FINANCE:
The same old bloodsucking game is
bringing humanity to its knees again

SYNOPSIS

Richard Westra argues that changes across the capitalist world at the turn of the 21st century put into play a global financial system which operates as a reincarnation of ancient usury. The book reexamines the historical record to show how activities of antediluvian money lending brought Western civilization to thebrink of collapse. Usury corrupted princes and kings by indulging their conspicuous consumption. It forced them to bleed their populations to fuel their possessive lust. And it fomented vicious cycles of indebtedness in the wars itcompelled.

Money lending to merchants spread the commercial economy that intervened between producers and consumers driving populations into debt and dispossessing them of their land. What saved Western civilization was the rise of capitalism. Capitalism tamed the activities of money lending, and endowed them with socially redeeming value. The cost of borrowing was rationally set in money markets. Bank credit was offered in anticipation of incomes generated by its determinate use. All in all, capitalism tethered finance to expanding production ofmaterial goods and increased social wealth.

But, as the 20th century drew to a close, with capital no longer scarce as exemplified by the aimless bloating of varying categories of funds, finance again turned to its dark side. With the disarticulating of production through globalization, there existed no possibility for bloating funds to ever be convertedinto real capital with determinate, socially redeeming use.

Instead, systemic rule changes empowered big banks, big investment firms and finance wings of giant corporations to unleash vast oceans of funds in a global orgy of money games. However, the global financial system of casino play can onlyoperate akin to ancient usury. Wealth for the few is expanded by expropriation and Himalayan levels of debt befalling the many!

Like usurers of old the new Merchants of Venice are indifferent to how lent funds are used. And loan repayment is set arbitrarily, often exacting such a high cost that the borrower is ruined or forced to strive for the ruin of others. Big government becomes the handmaiden sweeping as much debt under the public rug as it can.

Yet there is only so much in pounds of flesh left on the bones of humanity. Greece is really just the hors d’oeuvre.

 

CONTENTS

To make the case that changes across the capitalist world at the turn of the 21st century put into
play a global financial system which operates as a reincarnation of ancient usury requires several
key steps.

It’s Not Just the Inequality Stupid!
Chapter One, using broad brush strokes, introduces the problem.

Shylock Unchained
Chapter Two takes the reader on a fascinating journey back into West European history to see antediluvian “loan capital” or usury in action as it helped to bring then civilization to the brink of collapse

Shylock Chained
Chapter Three shows how capitalism chained Shylock as it reset finance and trade with socially redeeming purposes tied to the nexus of capitalist profit making and the social prosperity capitalism initially spreads.

Troubles in Capitalist Paradise
Chapter Four follows the trail capitalism blazes as it increasingly forsakes its market operating principles for a welter of extra-economic, extra-capitalist supports to survive in the 20th century. Yet, notwithstanding these supports, what remains of capitalist substance drives advanced economies into crises.

Merchants of Venice on Wall Street
Chapter Five exposes the big lie of the neoliberal era. It shows clearly why there is no longer any capitalism in the 21st century. Production centered economies are largely disintegrated with the activities which had acted as their engines of growth now disarticulated across the globe. What currently exists is a global network of casino economies with financial systems which operate not like capitalist markets, but like Merchants of Venice expropriating wealth through money games.

The Final “Pound of Flesh”
Chapter Six concludes with a closer look at how wealth is expropriated upwards to a cabal of über rich. It offers the disturbing prognosis that the current global trend of finance carving “pounds of flesh” from the bones of humanity is leading toward a new Dark Age of world barbarism.

        

Richard Westra

UNLEASHING USURY. How Finance Opened the Door for Capitalism, Then Swallowed It Whole

CLARITY PRESS, INC. http://www.claritypress.com

ISBN: 978-0-9860853-3-8  $24.95  2016  240 pp.
EBOOK: 978-0-9972870-0-4  $19.00

Richard Westra is Designated Professor at the Graduate School of Law, Nagoya University, Japan and Visiting Professor at the Institute of Political Economy, Carleton University, Canada. He has authored and edited 13 books and is co-editor of Journal of Contemporary Asia.

His Ph.D. was completed in 2001 at the Department of Political Studies, Queen’s University, Canada.

Among his numerous international publications he authored The Evil Axis of Finance, Clarity Press, 2012 and Exit from Globalization, Routledge, 2014.

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