"While a strait jacket of absolutism was being fastened on the foremost Catholic country in Europe, a more fundamental perversion was taking hold of the Protestant societies. The name of the perversion is capitalism which now began its triumphant career over the economies of the modern world." Mr Sire traces the growth of capitalism through the Dutch alliance with the Barbary corsairs (how many people know that these North African raiders used to fall upon the helpless villages of Cornwall and Devon and carry off their inhabitants into slavery?) and then the take-over of England after the Dutch Invasion in 1688; in lapidary phrases (you get lots of these in Phoenix from the Ashes... see earlier posts) Sire writes of "a [Dutch] programme of the most ruthless capitalist buccaneering in history", and of capitalism as Britain's "baneful gift to the world".
Sire's prose is often vivid: he writes of "the herding of the poor into grimy cities ... " "country dwellers had to be exiled from their villages; children had to be put to work day and night in relentless mills; Africans had to be packed into lethal holds to meet the demand of the cotton machines: factories and grimy streets engulfed the open fields." " ... In alliance with liberal ideology, capitalism broke down the institutions that had given cohesion to society on the smaller scale. Its end was to leave no social bonds except the legal and the economic, the relation of the citizen to the state and of the wage earner to the employer." The downfall of the Christian Order and the destruction of Catholic Europe; the destruction of legitimist monarchy and of the feudal jurisdictions; such are his themes. He reminds us of the decatholicising of the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of North America after purchase or conquest by the United States: in "the Spanish and French colonies that fell to republican expansion, ... their institutions were overruled in favour of the self-evident truths of Thomas Jefferson." America achieved a dominance which was encapsulated in the "rise of the robber barons of large-scale capitalism".
But at the heart of this survey lies Sire's reminder that the Council of Vienne (1311) authoritatively defined that it is heresy to deny that Usury is a sin. I think you will want to read for yourselves his survey of the teaching of S Thomas Aquinas and of the growth of the systems of Western countries in which "the domination of usury ... was complete by the middle of the nineteenth century, and inflation has been their almost constant feature since." I will leave you with this concluding paragraph of his discussion:
"If we accept that the Church's teaching on usury is sound, there remains the doctrinal question of whether it has been changed. Strictly speaking it has not . There has never been an authoritative revocation of the medieval doctrine, and in practice it continued to be taught in seminaries until scholastic teaching was destroyed by the Second Vatican Council. ... That does not, however, make the topic of usury a precedent for doctrinal change; rather, it is an object lesson in its misguidedness." (I.e. this historical narrative affords a lesson in the misguidedness of doctrinal change.)