does not have to represent greed, since it could be regulated socially in the economy to ensure that both productivity and social cohesion are fostered. In any case, a refusal to offer interest would surely encourage the hoarding of wealth and discourage investment, and as a result society as a whole will be disadvantaged. It is not impossible to devise methods of regulating interest so that it does not burden borrowers and also hamstring them in the future if conditions suddenly change and make it difficult for them to discharge the debt. Indeed, this is what the common law in the Anglo-American legal tradition generally does, although Azhar does not make this point. Case law in most Western countries does sharply distinguish which debts have to be paid and which do not, how interest may eventually be avoided, and what the consequences are for those who fall on hard times. Those consequences are often not pleasant, but then they generally are not tragic either, since we tend to think that those unable to satisfy their obligations should be able, after a certain period, to operate in the market again as though they had. This is because such an
Philosophy East and West – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Aug 3, 2012
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