I was recently reminded of the advice of King Gorice to Lord Juss in The Word Ouroboros, by E.R. Eddison:
"Thou art a man wise and fearless. I counsel thee, and all these that be with thee, turn back from Carcë. Well I see the blood thou didst drink in Melikaphkhaz will not allay thy thirst, and war is to thee thy pearl and thy paramour. Yet, if it be, turn back from Carcë. Thou standest now on the pinnacle of thine ambition; wilt leap higher, thou fall'st in the abyss. Let the four corners of the earth be shaken with our wars, but not this centre. For here shall no man gather fruit, but and if it be death he gather; or if, then this fruit only, that Zoacum, that fruit of bitterness, which when he shall have tasted of, all the bright lights of heaven shall become as darkness and all earth's goodness as ashes in his mouth all his life's days until he die."
Some kinds of berry bushes have good tasting berries and some bad. The birds eat the good berries in summer and fall. When winter comes the bad tasting ones are still left so they have something to eat to survive till spring.
Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. -Matthew 4:8-9
If someone were to ask me for help to feed his family or for medical care I would not loan him the money but give it outright. There are many worthy charities that do this. On the other hand if someone wanted to invest the money to make more money it would be better to loan it. That would get him working and after it is paid back the money could be reused to make more loans. That is what Kiva, http://www.kiva.org, is all about.
We hear a lot about "Wall Street" and "Main Street", but how about "Industrial Avenue"? When money is made by investing or loaning it is usually taxed at around 15% (capital gains tax). Yet industrial production is taxed, in most cases, around 35% (corporate income tax) and then taxed again when it is distributed to the shareholders of the company. No wonder the majority of business majors are now looking for jobs in finance not manufacturing. People complain about exporting jobs. How about cutting the corporate income tax? That would help a lot. p.s. I'm sure lot of Muslims are feel vindicated by the economic meltdown, since their religion forbids loaning money for interest.