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Society and its ideas, markets, and institutions are in the constant process of change. These transforming factors contribute to the evolution of economics. Usury is one prominent economic issue that demonstrates this evolution. As it has developed, usury, the lending of money at interest or excessive interest, has been debated for almost two millennia.

During the lifetime of Aristotle, 384-322 B.C., the lending of money for profit was believed to be unnatural and dishonorable. Aristotle and his beliefs of usury provided a foundation of ideas for future perspectives on the practice. This negative connotation associated with usury continued in history as is evident in the development and spread of Christianity and Islam during the Middle Ages. The Christian church drew on biblical passages and moral and religious reasons to define usury as a sin. The Church placed a ban on the practice of usury to prevent this “evil”. In Islam, the Quran and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad led Muslims to also view usury as a crime. [excerpt]