ISBN: 978-0-9860853-3-8  $24.95  2016

Ebook $19.00.00
ISBN 978-0-9972870-0-4


    Richard Westra argues that changes across the capitalist world at the turn of the
    21st century put into play a global financial system which operates as a
    reincarnation of ancient usury. The book reexamines the historical record to show
    how activities of antediluvian money lending brought Western civilization to the
    brink of collapse. Usury corrupted princes and kings by indulging their
    conspicuous consumption. It forced them to bleed their populations to fuel their
    possessive lust. And it fomented vicious cycles of indebtedness in the wars it

    Money lending to merchants spread the commercial economy that intervened
    between producers and consumers driving populations into debt and
    dispossessing them of their land. What saved Western civilization was the rise of
    capitalism. Capitalism tamed the activities of money lending, and endowed them
    with socially redeeming value. The cost of borrowing was rationally set in money
    markets. Bank credit was offered in anticipation of incomes generated by its
    determinate use. All in all, capitalism tethered finance to expanding production of
    material goods and increased social wealth.

    But, as the 20th century drew to a close, with capital no longer scarce as
    exemplified by the aimless bloating of varying categories of funds, finance again
    turned to its dark side. With the disarticulating of production through
    globalization, there existed no possibility for bloating funds to ever be converted
    into real capital with determinate, socially redeeming use.

    Instead, systemic rule changes empowered big banks, big investment firms and
    finance wings of giant corporations to unleash vast oceans of funds in a global
    orgy of money games. However, the global financial system of casino play can only
    operate akin to ancient usury. Wealth for the few is expanded by expropriation
    and Himalayan levels of debt befalling the many!

    Like usurers of old the new Merchants of Venice are indifferent to how lent funds
    are used. And loan repayment is set arbitrarily, often exacting such a high cost
    that the borrower is ruined or forced to strive for the ruin of others. Big
    government becomes the handmaiden sweeping as much debt under the public
    rug as it can.

    Yet there is only so much in pounds of flesh left on the bones of humanity. Greece
    is really just the hors d'oeuvre.

How Finance Opened
the Door for Capitalism
Then Swallowed It

/ Richard Westra

"A well-researched book whose arguments are solidly backed
up by a mountain of empirical data and critical analysis of
international political economy institutions.It will be of interest
to an academic and general readership as well as to activists,
and could be used in upper year and graduate-level political
and social science courses, as well as by heterodox
economics departments."
Dennis Badeen
Science & Society
"The book is intended for an educated, non-specialist readership,
including undergraduate students in the social sciences and related fields,
as well as progressive policy makers and activists. It presents a cogent
analysis of the long-term underpinnings of the 2008 global financial
meltdown and the emergent form of capitalism whose logic became
acutely visible in the subsequent fallout. Westra holds that the US, Japan
and China have come to form an “evil axis” of finance that places a
stranglehold on the world’s future. In this post-imperialist scenario, Wall
Street comprises the “new command center from which the US, supported
by evil axis partner dollar holdings, manages the world economy by ‘remote
control’ for its own self aggrandizement,” with Japan, China, the EU and
select other states “feeding at the trough”
William Carroll,
Studies in Social Justice
Download pdf of the full
"This is the best researched and hardest hitting book yet written on
what Westra so aptly refers to as "rotating meltdowns" caused by
High Finance's irresponsible expansion of and gambling with debt. A
spreading bankruptcy of states and financial corporations are being
bailed out by the 80 percent that can least afford it. As Westra points
out, the truly alarming result will be a radically increasing inequality
that is opposing a parasitical super rich everywhere to working
people--who will increasingly be unable to find work that will enable
them to support their families or themselves.

Robert Albritton, Professor Emeritus
Political Economy York University, Toronto, Canada
"This book by Professor Richard Westra is a brilliant analysis of the
political economy performance of global capitalism, and especially the
structure and dynamics of power and finance in the global and regional
economies. Westra is able to comprehend the performance of the
system while at the same time critically evaluating it on the basis of the
interests of the common man or woman. He identifies the core
commodity chains and production networks supporting the structures
of power associated with the US—China—Japan interface with Europe
and the periphery and remaining semi-periphery. He then posits some
critical measures of governance for redirecting policy in a progressive
direction into the future. This book is a must-read for those interested
in financial dominance over production and society and how to rectify
the situation.”     

Dr Phillip O’Hara,
President-Elect Association for Evolutionary Economics;
Director, Global Political Economy Research Unit


    "a very good overview of key debates on
    contemporary development strategies and
    alternatives.  As a rule, the chapters are devoted
    to state-based strategies. However, there is also
    material on relations between states, classes
    and social movements, and several chapters
    provide excellent and intriguing critiques of
    development strategy...."
                 —THOMAS BARNES,
                 Capital & Class 2012.

    "Anyone concerned with understanding combined
    and uneven development in the global economy
    today would profit immensely from reading this
    superb collection."  
                                 TONY SMITH
                 Against the Current, 2011  
Richard Westra is Designated Professor at the Graduate
School of Law, Nagoya University, Japan and Visiting Professor
at the Institute of Political Economy, Carleton University,
Canada. He has authored and edited 13 books and is co-editor
of Journal of Contemporary Asia. His Ph.D. was completed in
2001 at the Department of Political Studies, Queen’s University,
Canada.   Among his numerous international publications he
The Evil Axis of Finance, Clarity Press, 2012 and Exit
from Globalization
, Routledge, 2014.


    To make the case that changes across the capitalist world at the turn of the 21st century put into
    play a global financial system which operates as a reincarnation of ancient usury requires several
    key steps.

It’s Not Just the Inequality Stupid!
    Chapter One, using broad brush strokes, introduces the problem.

    Shylock Unchained
    Chapter Two takes the reader on a fascinating journey back into West European history to see
    antediluvian “loan capital” or usury in action as it helped to bring then civilization to the brink of

    Shylock Chained
    Chapter Three shows how capitalism chained Shylock as it reset finance and trade with socially
    redeeming purposes tied to the nexus of capitalist profit making and the social prosperity capitalism
    initially spreads.

    Troubles in Capitalist Paradise
    Chapter Four follows the trail capitalism blazes as it increasingly forsakes its market operating
    principles for a welter of extra-economic, extra-capitalist supports to survive in the 20th century.
    Yet, notwithstanding these supports, what remains of capitalist substance drives advanced
    economies into crises.

    Merchants of Venice on Wall Street
    Chapter Five exposes the big lie of the neoliberal era. It shows clearly why there is no longer any
    capitalism in the 21st century. Production centered economies are largely disintegrated with the
    activities which had acted as their engines of growth now disarticulated across the globe. What
    currently exists is a global network of casino economies with financial systems which operate not
    like capitalist markets, but like Merchants of Venice expropriating wealth through money games.

    The Final “Pound of Flesh”
    Chapter Six concludes with a closer look at how wealth is expropriated upwards to a cabal of über
    rich. It offers the disturbing prognosis that the current global trend of finance carving “pounds of
    flesh” from the bones of humanity is leading toward a new Dark Age of world barbarism.          

    Richard Westra has developed a theory of financialization and globalization as
    the disintegration of the pure logic of capital informed by analysis of idle money
    funds unravelling any possibility of resuscitating a mode of accumulation as a
    value-augmenting process. This happens when self-commodified money capital
    in the money and capital markets disintermediates itself from production  and  
    in  effect  forces  industrial  capital  to  become  “not-at-all-manufacturing”  
    rentier  vehicles.  His  contributions  add  great  novelty  to  the  Uno–Sekine  
    approach,  and  his  analysis  is  fundamentally distinctive from the post-
    Keynesian notion of finance-led growth regime or the classical Marxist notion of
    the dominance of finance capital.

    "Westra presents a bold and challenging Marxian analysis of the world economy
    that concludes capitalism no longer exists and moreover cannot be recreated in
    another form.  In this post-capitalist world, the remaining capitalist states and
    their productive capacity are being consumed and their ability to sustain their
    populations destroyed by the unproductive monster produced by unused
    money: creditism, casino capitalism or as Westra prefers usury."
    Scottish Left Review more p. 28-29

    "Unleashing Usury is a must read for those concerned about the increasing
    financialization of the global economy. 'Usury' got its deeply negative
    connotations in the Middle Ages, when Christianity viewed it as out and out evil.
    Westra argues that this was not simply some kind of naive bias on the part of
    Christianity, since the dog-eat-dog trends of usury did play a role in
    undermining medieval civilization. In this book he presents forceful arguments
    backed by strong historical evidence to demonstrate that the capitalist
    financialization we are now experiencing is far worse than the medieval breed
    of usury. This is because of the extent to which the unleashing of usury has
    penetrated global life with deep wounds, wounds that because of their depth
    and breadth will be difficult to heal. A start at healing will require an
    understanding of the nature of the wounds, and this is precisely where Westra’s
    book is particularly strong. He makes it very clear that a patch work of surface
    cures will not get us far when it is deep wounds that we need to cure. It is my
    hope that this book will be widely read by scholars, politicians, and all those who
    are troubled by our global economy’s current directions."
    Robert  Albritton, Professor Emeritus, York University

    "With his classical-Marxist scalpel, Westra brilliantly dissects the West-East
    sweep of overaccumulated capital, allowing him to put financialization in proper
    perspective and more explicitly make the case for socialism. If you tire of
    circling around worsening inequality, imperialism and other 'idle-money'
    symptoms of economic crisis, and instead you want to drill down to find root
    causes within capitalism's putrefying remnants, as Westra puts it, this is a
    superb guidebook."
    Patrick Bond, Professor of Political Economy, University of the Witwatersrand,
Get the gist of it by reading Westra's article in World
Financial Review