For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"Trade and Usury"

by Luther, Martin (1955)


THE HOLY GOSPEL condemns and points out all sorts of works of darkness, as Saint Paul calls them, Romans, 13, 12; for it is a bright light that shines for all the world, and teaches how evil are the works of the world, and shows the right works which one should do towards …

Key Passage

The merchants have among themselves one common rule, which is their chief maxim and the basis of all their sharp practices. They say: I may sell my goods as dear as I can. This they think their right. Lo, that is giving place to avarice and opening every door and window to hell. What does it mean? Only this: “I care nothing about my neighbor; so long as I have my profit and satisfy my greed, what affair is it of mine if it does my neighbor ten injuries at once?” There you see how shamelessly this maxim flies squarely in the face not only of Christian love, but of natural law. Now what good is there in trade? How can it be without sin when such injustice is the chief maxim and the rule of the whole business? On this basis trade can be nothing else than robbing and stealing other people’s property. (p.9)


Luther, Protestantism, Usury, Trade, Political Economy, Economic History, Theology, Natural Law, Reformation, Theology


Luther, Protestantism, Religious Views on Work

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