I feel fortunate, at my time of life, to have some money in the bank. I feel that I have earned it and it is a welcome cushion against a very uncertain future. Every so often, though it has not been much of late, I get paid interest. It is paid to me as recompense for the bank being able to use my money to generate yet more money.
Of course I am grateful for any income yet part of me feels guilty in that I have received money for doing nothing. The money I have invested I have already earned, it was payment for work done and so why do I get more money for the same work? The position is actually worse. By lending my money to the bank, I have allowed them to indebt others, perhaps causing them real hardship over the last few months to scrape together their loan repayments. I am part of the global financial system!
Yes, I know that this is how the world works, at least under capitalism. People and businesses need money and need to borrow from time to time to get the things they need and want. Without people to lend money then the system would grind to a halt and it makes sense that people should get some reward for risking their capital.
Yet these feelings don’t go away. What bothers me is that the more money I have then the more interest I get. The more interest I get then the more money I have. It is a virtuous spiral. But the opposite must also be true, the less one has then the more one has to borrow and the more interest you have to pay. The more you have to pay then the less money you have.
The natural conclusion is that I am earning money for doing nothing by taking from those who don’t have it and that the more I have the less I need to do to provide for my family. It won’t, but it could get to the point where I don’t have to work as I can live off my interest payments and I could live as a financial feudal lord.
I have no real response to such feelings of guilt, other than to suppress them or lend my money without interest to organisations such as lendwithcare.org or shared-interest.com.
Is it just me?