Conversations I Wish I Had

What Does Interest Even Mean?

What can you do with anthropology?

Anyone who has taken out a loan knows that not only will they have to pay it back, but they’ll have to pay a little extra called interest. Interest is considered the “cost” of taking out a loan, something that helps a lender stay in business. However, the term “interest” is strange. How does the word apply to money and loans? According to Mauro Rodrigues in his article In whose interest?, not even history has a clear answer. Every language seems to represent the idea differently. In Portuguese, interest is translated as taxa de juro, with “juro” meaning “to swear” or “to vow”.  Even though the concept of interest has been around even longer than coinage, the origins of the term are still murky.

Because different cultures typically have different views of reality, they create different concepts which are reflected in their language. In portuguese, the word “juro” may…

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This entry was posted on May 2, 2015 by .
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