The Usurer and the John

Usury, like prostitution, is an exchange that both sides are assumed to agree to. Those on the receiving end of the money want the exchange to happen, or at least they agree to the terms for acquiring the purchasing power of the Usurer or the John. If justice were a matter of mere consent, we might have a hard time calling either exchange unjust. What other choice do we have if we want to go to college?

And so both Usury and prostitution become “victimless crimes”. Both become romanticized: the hooker-to-lover story or the little guy who risks a dangerous loan but wins big.

Both have long histories of not only happening, but as being taken as the normal way the economy works. Both congregate in their distinctive commerce districts. Both are seen as ways that young upstarts can leverage what little they have to get a leg up.



  1. semioticanimal said,

    September 19, 2015 at 9:42 am

    This is related to the concern I’ve been having about understanding the free market and justification solely in terms of merely voluntary exchanges. The lack of a consideration of what is exchanged, such as usurious loans, ends up failing to recognize that some voluntary exchanges end up undermining the freedom the market requires.

  2. September 19, 2015 at 10:00 am


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