Note to the Law & Governments: Labour & Riches by John Ruskin

I have not hitherto touched on the subject of interest of money; it is too complex; and must be reserved for its proper place in the body of the work. (I should be glad if a writer, who sent me some valuable notes on this subject, and asked me to return a letter which I still keep at his service, would send me his address.) The definition of interest (apart from compensation for risk) is, "the exponent of the comfort of accomplished labour, separated from its power"; the power being what is lent: and the French economists who have maintained the entire illegality of interest are wrong; yet by no means so curiously or wildly wrong as the English and French ones opposed to them, whose opinions have been collected by Dr. Whewell at page 41 of his Lectures; it never seeming to occur to the mind of the compiler any more than to the writers whom he quotes, that it is quite possible, and even (according to Jewish proverb) prudent, for men to hoard, as ants and mice do, for use, not usury; and lay by something for winter nights, in the expectation of rather sharing than lending the scrapings. My Savoyard squirrels would pass a pleasant time of it under the snow-laden pine-branches, if they always declined to economize because no one would pay them interest on nuts.