Royal Commission on Labour in India: Report(1929)||
Even if the co-operative credit movement were to spread among industrial workers to a much greater extent than we anticipate it would not strike at the heart of the workers' difficulties. Credit, in the sense of borrowing capacity, is not the worker's need; it would be nearer the troth to describe it as his curse. There are frequent occasions when a misfortune makes it necessary for him to obtain a small loan, but such loans are often obtained from relatives. Even where this is not possible, they could frequently be obtained on reasonable terms, if it were not for the larger debts already incurred. As matters stand at present, if these loans could all be secured on terms of easy repayment, the majority of workers would be little nearer to freedom. It is the large debts which are incurred not from economic necessity but on account of social pressure and custom that most enslave the worker. The fatal weakness in the present system is the comparative ease with which the worker can borrow sums which he has little prospect of being able to repay. His lack of education tends to prevent him from taking long views; and the offer of cash to the extent of a hundred or two hundred rupees in exchange for a thumb-print is almost irresistible. The lack of forethought in mortgaging the future is illustrated by the fact that the thumb-print is frequently given on a blank document or the page of a book. It is by no means uncommon for the money-lender to fill in both the capital sum and the interest rate subsequently, and in any case the borrower has no copy of the transaction and has usually to rely entirely on the money-lender for a periodical reckoning of the position. Quite apart from the dangers of this practice the workman hag often no real perception of the effect of compound interest, and his readiness to let the future take care of itself is fatal to him.