The best dictionary definition of usury is, “Interest paid for the use of money.” Pre-Protestant western Christianity condemned it. So did Islam. In fact, the rapid spread of Islam can be largely attributed Moslems “liberating” those in-debt from the usurious lenders.
From a moral stand-point, money lent for things like entertainment and personal consumption are considered usury. Money lent for economic gain is not. For example, you discover you have oil under your land and need to borrow $50,000 to extract $5,000,000 worth of oil — the loan is not considered usurious so long as the lender shares in the profit or loss of the venture. Lending money to someone so they can watch a movie, go out to eat, buy a house to live in, a car to drive, or Christmas presents for their grandkids — all that is usury.
The problem is that the loans do not cause economic growth, so money must actually be created to pay-off the loan or the system collapses. Lets use Sam & Pat as an example.
Take this and multiply it across the 308 million people in the United States. Is it any wonder our people and our nation are bankrupt? The only difference between Pat and the United States is the United States prints more money (by creating debt) — delaying but escalating the inevitable. Greed will eventually cause our demise. It’s called usury.