J.L.’s article was a little light on the math. I would assume (assumption #1) that the “Christian Era” referred to in “A Response to Ideas Concerning a Post-Collapse World” started with the birth of Jesus (hence the “A.D.” in our dating system). Given that as the starting point, 5 pennies (were they modern-day pennies, assumption #2) invested at 5% annually for roughly 2,000 years would now be worth $214,703,801,016,035,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, according to my Excel spreadsheet calculations.
Converting that dollar amount to gold (a more compact measure of value than copper coin) at $1308 (5/6/14 at 2 PM, Kitco, assumption #3) per (troy) ounce, and figuring for conversion to standard ounces then pounds then tons, yields 4,675,583,266,749,050,000,000,000,000,000,000 tons of gold. Considering that the earth weighs (according to Cool Cosmos ) an estimated 6,585,000,000,000,000,000,000 tons (metric, but who’s counting?) that comes out to something like 700 billion spheres of gold each weighing as much as the earth (but a lot smaller than the earth because gold is so dense). I’m either too tired or too lazy to calculate how many 8,000-mile-diameter spheres of gold that would be.
I think you get the idea…
Even if there’s a calculation error here and there, I’d say that the original article’s calculation is close enough to make the point that compound interest is a bad thing for borrowers and a great thing for banks. I don’t want to pile on bankers, but the system is broken and a LOT more complicated than most persons realize.
Trust God. Be Prepared. It’s time to do both. – P.H.
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Just to add my 2 cents to the usury comments by J.L., interest rates are a fact of life, as “interest” reflects the amount of money that is discounted for the future. For example, if someone offers me $100 today or $100 next month, I’ll take the $100 today, no question. But if someone offered me $100 today or $150 next month, I might consider waiting. The calculation that goes on in my head whether to take the money now or in the future is the effective “interest rate”. It’s one of those facts of economics that is not changed by legislation, as much as people might like to change it.
Gary North has written exhaustively on the topic of interest in the New Testament. Regards – R.K.
Hugh Replies: While I agree with Gary North in that all interest was banned for your fellow brother, I do not agree with his premise in that the interest was tied to the Jubilee (50th year) as this practice was never implemented in the nation of Israel. They were supposed to, but they didn’t, which is one of the reasons the Kingdom of Judah was sentenced to 70 years in captivity– for the 70 sabbatical years of the land that were missed in 490 years. Also, Christ did not annul any law from the Old Testament anywhere. In fact, He states the opposite position in Matthew 5:17-19 “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” The last I looked, the earth was still here. In other words, none of the law from the Old Testament have been done away with.
It’s really not hard to understand why that prohibition is in place. When you loan something to someone, that person is beholden to you. In the case of money, it is very transient in nature. When you loan money to a friend, there is pressure on that friendship, and every time the two of you get together to fellowship, that pressure is there. You think about what he owes you; they think about how hard it is to repay. The addition of interest into the equation amplifies that pressure. Many friendships have ended over the guilt of the inability to repay or the anger of being taken advantage of. Sometimes, the friendship is just damaged; sometimes the friendship is destroyed. In all cases, it takes a concerted effort from both parties of the loan to reconcile. How much better to follow the commands given, and when asked by a brother for a loan, if you can afford it, give it freely to him without the expectation of interest or repayment. Consider it a gift. If they repay it, so be it. If they don’t, it is no loss to you, and you have had the blessing of giving and helping.