Debt is for the Christian a violation of the commandment, “Owe no man anything save to love one another” (Rom. 13:8). Debt rests on covetousness, a desire to possess what our neighbor has, even though we lack his means. As a result of covetousness, the slave desires to possess a home, car, furnishings, and clothing which he sees the wealthy possessing, and his means of securing these things is debt. St. Paul declared, “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is also certain that we can carry nothing out. But having food and clothing, let us therewith be content” (1 Tim. 6:6, 7).

The covetous man or nation goes into debt to gain added power, purchasing power, prestige, resources, and other forms of visible might. The result is indeed an increase of power, but it is short-term power purchased at the price of long-term disaster. The debtor sees perpetually additional goals, new increases of power possible through debt, and as a result plunges ever more deeply into slavery. Debt is a way of life, a covetous way of life and a form of slavery. The eventual outcome of a debt-economy, for men and nations, is bankruptcy.

The short-term power, however, is impressive. The debtors themselves are profoundly impressed by this power, and hence they ascribe to the greatest debtors the greatest power. They believe, moreover, whenever they become aware of the pinch of debt, that the evil is in the moneylender, not in themselves for having lived covetously. As a result, they begin to rant against “the hidden money power,” and often amass data concerning it. The grains of truth concerning the money establishment obscures the grim reality that debtors create this money-establishment, and the ...

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