Reference > Quotations > S. Austin Allibone, comp. > Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay
S. Austin Allibone, comp.  Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay.  1880.
  A prohibition of interest, or—which is only a minor degree of the same error—a prohibition of any beyond a certain fixed rate of interest, has an effect similar to that of a like interference between the buyers and sellers of any other commodity. If, for example, in a time of scarcity it were enacted, on the ground that cheap food is desirable, that bread and meat should not be sold beyond such and such a price, the result would be that every one would be driven—unless he would submit to be starved—to evade the law; and he would have to pay for his food more than he otherwise would, to cover (1) the cost of the contrivances for the evasion of the law, and (2) a compensation to the seller for the risk, and also for the discredit, of that evasion. Even so, a man who is in want of money, and can find no one to lend it him at a legal interest, is either driven (as Bacon himself remarks) to sell his property at a ruinous loss, or else he borrows of some Jew, who contrives to evade the law; and he has to pay for that evasion. Suppose, for instance, he could borrow (if there were no usury laws) at eight per cent., he will have to pay, perhaps, virtually twelve per cent., because (1) he has to resort to a man who incurs disgrace by his trade, and who will require a greater profit to compensate for the discredit; and (2) he will have to receive part of his loan in goods which he does not want, at an exorbitant price, or in some way to receive less, really, than he does nominally.
Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Usury.    
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