Cover image for The history of consumer credit : doctrines and practices
The history of consumer credit : doctrines and practices
Gelpi, Rosa-Maria.
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Histoire du crédit à la consommation. English
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Press, [2000]

Physical Description:
xix, 190 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 23 cm
Format :


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HG3755 .G413 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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From the early forms of loans to farmers up to present day credit cards, consumer credit has always been part of human life; however, ever since the Bible, controversy has reigned as to its legitimacy. It is the history of this controversy that is presented here. Outlining significant developments in different aspects of consumer credit from the Hammurabi Code through to current questions such as household overindebtedness, the authors shed historical light on modern debates.

Author Notes

Rosa-Maria Gelpi is Professor of Economics at the Free University of Lille and Vice President of Cetelem, the first European group specializing in consumer credit.

Table of Contents

List of Platesp. viii
Prefacep. x
Acknowledgementsp. xx
I Credit from Ancient to Modern Times: Dogma Versus Practicep. 1
1 Usury in the Ancient Worldp. 3
The Code of Hammurabip. 3
Credit and Serfdom in Ancient Greecep. 4
The Great Legal Reforms of Solonp. 6
The First Philosophical Condemnations of Interest-bearing Loans: Plato and Aristotlep. 7
Credit and Society in Republican Romep. 9
Usury, an Endemic Evil in the Empirep. 10
2 Almsgiving versus Usuryp. 15
Biblical Bansp. 15
Prophetic Inspirationp. 17
Religious Sanctions and the Church Fathersp. 19
The First Civil Ban: the Admonitio Generalis of Charlemagnep. 22
Credit and Civilization in Visigoth Cataloniap. 25
3 The Two-sided Attitude of the Churchp. 29
Medieval Changesp. 30
Opposition of the Feudal World to Changes in Societyp. 33
From Opposition to Compromise: the Scholastic Doctrine on Usuryp. 34
Medieval Practicesp. 38
The First Monts-de-Pietes in Italyp. 42
4 The Cleavage of the Reformationp. 46
Luther's Hesitationp. 46
Calvin's Contributionp. 49
The Abolition Movementp. 53
5 The Hypocritical Masks of the Ancien Regimep. 58
The Ideology of the Counter-Reformationp. 58
The Spirit of the Ancien Regimep. 59
Debt: Remedy, Poison or Propitietary Victim?p. 63
The Spanish Caricaturep. 66
6 The Contrast of the Enlightenmentp. 70
Diversity of Laws and Practicesp. 70
Bentham's Treatisep. 73
Turgot's Memoirep. 77
7 Toward an Economic Conceptp. 84
The Dangers of Consumptionp. 84
Consumption and Crisisp. 89
II Consumer Credit in Contemporary Societies: Practice Versus Dogmap. 95
8 The American Wayp. 97
Originsp. 97
The Development of Studies and Regulationp. 101
The Emblem of American Societyp. 105
Consumer Credit, Growth and Economic Fluctuationsp. 108
The Case of Japanp. 113
9 European Waysp. 119
The French Monts-de-Pietes, 'My Aunt'p. 119
The English Pawnbroker, 'My Uncle'p. 125
The Arrival of Consumer Creditp. 129
The French Wayp. 133
The Rest of Europep. 141
The European Dimensionp. 146
10 Are We Overindebted?p. 151
The Economic Factsp. 151
The American Recessionp. 153
The Case of Great Britain and Francep. 159
Overindebtedness as a Symptomp. 162
Conclusionp. 169
Appendix 1p. 177
Appendix 2p. 179
Appendix 3p. 180
Indexp. 181