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Not one, nor two, nor three, but a round dozen of interest theories testify to the zeal with which economists have devoted themselves to the investigation of this remarkable problem. Any one who has realised the difficulty of the wages question will understand that this underpaying may be quite unintentional.

Wherefore of all modes of making money this is the most unnatural” Jowett’s Capifal, p. They would have time recognised as the equivalent for which they receive the surplus income formed by the interest. There the conditions were peculiarly favourable to its further development. There was urgent need of assistance from theory, and this assistance was readily obtained from the growing science.

The great economist and finance minister of the Austro-Hungarian Bohm-bawerj is a pillar of the Austrian School. That is to say, the work of capital in production may be quite definitely marked out, and its proper relation to the value it accompanies be exactly determined, and yet the distribution of its results may be taken from private owners and given over to the corporate owning of the state.

In the fifth edition published inteees refers capitxl it, indeed, but in the kind of tone which one usually adopts towards a foregone conclusion.

The broad implications of this work are being rediscovered today by younger Austrians building on his foundation for Austrian production theory. This compensation is interest or xapital, in the right and proper sense of the word.


Now if, when the onus of justifying its existence is thrown upon capital, economic theory can only account for this income without risk and without work by pointing to the “productive power” of capital, or to the “sacrifice of the capitalist,” it is easy to see how another theory should make its appearance, asserting that interest is nothing else d a forced contribution from helpless or ignorant people; a tribute, not a tax.

He sells a “use” which does not exist, or a use which already belongs to the borrower. Write a customer review. But if neither capital nor labour can create value, how can it be maintained that capital employed in production not only reproduces its own value, but produces a value greater than itself?

Capital and Interest: A Critical History of Economic Theory – Online Library of Liberty

The fate of the interess in this movement showed clearly enough that there was cause for fear. The most cogent argumentation on this point, though it may convince many who thought otherwise, will never convert all. As distinct as the nature of the two problems is the character of the arguments that are used by each of them, and the strictness with which the arguments are used.


I therefore give below in his own words one or two passages from the polemic. Translate the free labourer into a wage bohmbawerk under capitalism, pay him the wage which is just sufficient eugeh support himself and his family, and here also it is the case that he can produce more than his wage. In economical treatment this separation of the two distinct problems, which prudence suggests, has been neglected by many writers. But the ordinary boh,-bawerk of many a peasant proprietor who lives by continual toil, and never “gets out of the bit,”—that is, never does more than reproduce his bare living—might show that the assumption is not universally valid, and that labour by no means always produces more value than it consumes.

Capital and Interest | Mises Institute

Accepting this answer we should expect to find the phenomenon vn interest most easily studied in the case of a Limited Liability Company, integes the personal exertion of the shareholders is limited to choosing the investment, subscribing the capital, and receiving the dividends.

The proof from authority being thus disposed of, Calvin turns to the rational arguments usually given for the prohibition. For fifteen hundred years this turn of affairs gave abundant support to those writers who were hostile to interest. Thus we fail to recognise that there is in natural interest, as well as in loan interest, the strange element of acquisition of wealth without labour.

In the one case the capitalist is paid because the capital he lends produces, or helps to produce, new wealth; in the other he is paid because he abstains from diminishing wealth already produced. In this position we find it in the two great cameralists who flourish at the end of our period, Justi and Sonnenfels.

At the same time the prohibition became more felt as it extended to wider circles, and as its transgression was punished more severely. In the course of the seventeenth century the new doctrine made great strides, particularly in the Netherlands. This page was last edited on 4 Novemberat This at once enables us to estimate the Use theory of interest.

The “use of capital” is not something apart from the using of the goods which constitute the capital; it is their consumption, fast or slow as the case may be; and a payment for the use of capital is nothing but a payment for the consumption of capital. But to say that capital is “productive” does not explain interest, for capital would still be productive although it produced no interest; e.


If, however, we demand an answer to what we have formulated as the true problem of interest, we shall make the discovery that the Productivity theory has not even put that problem before itself.

The legal prohibitions of interest may, of course, be taken as evidence of a strong and widespread conviction of the evils connected with its practice. In the following argument, then, we assume that the demand comes exclusively from labour, that the entire supply and demand meet in one single market embracing the euggen community, and that all branches of production show the same scale of surplus returns.

Thus Grotius takes a hesitating middle course between the old and the new doctrine. In the one case the argument is concerned with truth or falsehood, while in the other it is concerned for the most part with expediency.

Before that century the controversy is mainly confined to the theologians, and even the way in which it is treated is essentially theoiogical. The history of the interest problem, therefore, begins with a very long period in which loan interest, or usury, alone is the subject of investigation.

If the formula, however, is considered to contain a scientific description of interest, we must take the word “use” in something like its ordinary signification, and consider the “use of capital” as something distinct from the capital itself which affords the use. In Attica interest had for long been free from legal restriction.

He finally resigned inwhen increased fiscal demands from the army threatened to unbalance the budget.

Online Library of Liberty

In this battle victory remained with the more stubborn party, bohm-bawefk that party was the one whose very existence was endangered by the prohibition. The fact is that, of the numerous views advanced as to the nature and origin of interest, no single one was able to obtain undivided assent. I shall very shortly state those rational arguments that have an interest for us, and verify them by one or two quotations from such writers as have given them clear and practical expression.

He returned to teaching inwith a chair at the University of Vienna. Of two men, in other respects equal, the one who has wealth is able not only to preserve the value of his wealth intact, but to enjoy an annual income without risk bohm-baweerk trouble, and, providing that he lives well within his income, can add steadily to the sum of his wealth.

But each of them omitted considerations enough to prevent its being accepted as a completely satisfactory theory.