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Islam and Mammon: The Economic Predicaments of Islamism

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The doctrine of Islamic economics entered debates over the social role of Islam in the mid-twentieth century. Since then it has pursued the goal of restructuring economies according to perceived Islamic teachings. Beyond its most visible practical achievement--the establishment of Islamic banks meant to avoid interest--it has promoted Islamic norms of economic behavior and The doctrine of Islamic economics entered debates over the social role of Islam in the mid-twentieth century. Since then it has pursued the goal of restructuring economies according to perceived Islamic teachings. Beyond its most visible practical achievement--the establishment of Islamic banks meant to avoid interest--it has promoted Islamic norms of economic behavior and founded redistribution systems modeled after early Islamic fiscal practices. In this bold and timely critique, Timur Kuran argues that the doctrine of Islamic economics is simplistic, incoherent, and largely irrelevant to present economic challenges. Observing that few Muslims take it seriously, he also finds that its practical applications have had no discernible effects on efficiency, growth, or poverty reduction. Why, then, has Islamic economics enjoyed any appeal at all? Kuran's answer is that the real purpose of Islamic economics has not been economic improvement but cultivation of a distinct Islamic identity to resist cultural globalization. The Islamic subeconomies that have sprung up across the Islamic world are commonly viewed as manifestations of Islamic economics. In reality, Kuran demonstrates, they emerged to meet the economic aspirations of socially marginalized groups. The Islamic enterprises that form these subeconomies provide advancement opportunities to the disadvantaged. By enhancing interpersonal trust, they also facilitate intragroup transactions. These findings raise the question of whether there exist links between Islam and economic performance. Exploring these links in relation to the long-unsettled question of why the Islamic world became underdeveloped, Kuran identifies several pertinent social mechanisms, some beneficial to economic development, others harmful.


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The doctrine of Islamic economics entered debates over the social role of Islam in the mid-twentieth century. Since then it has pursued the goal of restructuring economies according to perceived Islamic teachings. Beyond its most visible practical achievement--the establishment of Islamic banks meant to avoid interest--it has promoted Islamic norms of economic behavior and The doctrine of Islamic economics entered debates over the social role of Islam in the mid-twentieth century. Since then it has pursued the goal of restructuring economies according to perceived Islamic teachings. Beyond its most visible practical achievement--the establishment of Islamic banks meant to avoid interest--it has promoted Islamic norms of economic behavior and founded redistribution systems modeled after early Islamic fiscal practices. In this bold and timely critique, Timur Kuran argues that the doctrine of Islamic economics is simplistic, incoherent, and largely irrelevant to present economic challenges. Observing that few Muslims take it seriously, he also finds that its practical applications have had no discernible effects on efficiency, growth, or poverty reduction. Why, then, has Islamic economics enjoyed any appeal at all? Kuran's answer is that the real purpose of Islamic economics has not been economic improvement but cultivation of a distinct Islamic identity to resist cultural globalization. The Islamic subeconomies that have sprung up across the Islamic world are commonly viewed as manifestations of Islamic economics. In reality, Kuran demonstrates, they emerged to meet the economic aspirations of socially marginalized groups. The Islamic enterprises that form these subeconomies provide advancement opportunities to the disadvantaged. By enhancing interpersonal trust, they also facilitate intragroup transactions. These findings raise the question of whether there exist links between Islam and economic performance. Exploring these links in relation to the long-unsettled question of why the Islamic world became underdeveloped, Kuran identifies several pertinent social mechanisms, some beneficial to economic development, others harmful.

30 review for Islam and Mammon: The Economic Predicaments of Islamism

  1. 4 out of 5

    Tariq

    ١- يلقي الكتاب نظرة سريعة على تطورات الاقتصاد الاسلامي منذ منتصف القرن الفائت، ثم يناقش مستقبله، و ما يراه كوران ان هذا الاقتصاد بمصارفه ودورته المالية بين الاعمال الذي تعلن هويه اسلامية رغم فشله في احداث اي تغيير وسط الانظمة الرأسمالية الا انه سيستمر كاقتصاد فرعي موازي نتيجة الفساد وحاجة الحركة الاسلامية له ٢- استعرض كوران النقاش الذي دار خلال العقود الأخيرة حول الاقتصاد الإسلامي بشكل استقصائي معقول ٣- يعطي الكتاب لمحة حول تغلغل الاسلام السياسي في المجتمعات الاسلامية ع المستوى الاقتصادي.. وهذا له ١- يلقي الكتاب نظرة سريعة على تطورات الاقتصاد الاسلامي منذ منتصف القرن الفائت، ثم يناقش مستقبله، و ما يراه كوران ان هذا الاقتصاد بمصارفه ودورته المالية بين الاعمال الذي تعلن هويه اسلامية رغم فشله في احداث اي تغيير وسط الانظمة الرأسمالية الا انه سيستمر كاقتصاد فرعي موازي نتيجة الفساد وحاجة الحركة الاسلامية له ٢- استعرض كوران النقاش الذي دار خلال العقود الأخيرة حول الاقتصاد الإسلامي بشكل استقصائي معقول ٣- يعطي الكتاب لمحة حول تغلغل الاسلام السياسي في المجتمعات الاسلامية ع المستوى الاقتصادي.. وهذا له طرف علاقة بالنقاش حول مستقبل هذا التيار ٤- الكتاب على اهميته لكل مهتم بالحركات الاسلامية يعيبه التكرار ..لأن كوران كتبه على شكل بحوث اكاديمية سته منفصلة .. على فترات زمنيه متباعده ٥- الفصل الاخير مهم ، يستعرض فيه النظريات حول علاقة الإسلام بالتنمية

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jodi

    I definitely had issues with this book. Kuran uses broad brushstrokes to paint Islam in a negative light without using concrete evidence. Furthermore, his analysis focuses on few Islamic countries. His focus when it comes to facts and figures is centered around Turkey with little compare/contrast between other Islamic countries.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ridzwan

    Why is it that despite the tremendous amount of wealth that has been created over the centuries, Muslim nations still remain economically backward? Could it be due to the fact that Muslims have stayed away from conventional investments for fear of interest? Or is it a general failure of Muslims in general to truly embrace capitalism in favour of more “Islamic” economic systems? Timur Kuran discusses these issues in a series of well-researched essays compiled in this timely book. In them, he explo Why is it that despite the tremendous amount of wealth that has been created over the centuries, Muslim nations still remain economically backward? Could it be due to the fact that Muslims have stayed away from conventional investments for fear of interest? Or is it a general failure of Muslims in general to truly embrace capitalism in favour of more “Islamic” economic systems? Timur Kuran discusses these issues in a series of well-researched essays compiled in this timely book. In them, he explores the notion of Islamic Banking, the Muslim charity system and their various pitfalls which he believes has a part to play in the current state of Muslims today. Some topics may be highly controversial, especially with regards to the discussions on “Islamic” banking and interest in Islam. Nonetheless the work successfully questions conventional wisdom and I would recommend it to everyone wishing to embark on Islamic banking or any other Islamic financial product that is widely sold in the retail markets today.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ietrio

    Mammon is a character and concept from the christian bible. But this volume is about islam. Than I discover a mess of terms that can or can not be equivalent: islam, islamism and muslim. And gosh! 200 pages to cover many countries with dramatically different backgrounds? Talking about simple minded. Only whom? The third of the global population or just Timur Kuran?

  5. 5 out of 5

    Masroor

  6. 4 out of 5

    Fahmi Salleh

  7. 4 out of 5

    Cihat

  8. 4 out of 5

    Erik

  9. 4 out of 5

    Najib

  10. 5 out of 5

    Sohaib

  11. 5 out of 5

    Fahad M

  12. 4 out of 5

    Alex

  13. 5 out of 5

    Pseudoerasmus (Econ History Only)

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kim Miller-Norris

  15. 5 out of 5

    صديق الحكيم

  16. 5 out of 5

    Rabah

  17. 4 out of 5

    M. Akif

  18. 4 out of 5

    Azhar sheikh

  19. 5 out of 5

    نور الزهراء

  20. 4 out of 5

    suat

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ayşe Beyza

  22. 4 out of 5

    Mehmet Gökhan Özdemir

  23. 4 out of 5

    Halimadouair

  24. 5 out of 5

    Mustafa

  25. 5 out of 5

    Henri Tournyol du Clos

  26. 5 out of 5

    Niklas Anzinger

  27. 4 out of 5

    Laith Suheimat

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sylvia

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jocylen

  30. 4 out of 5

    Weronika

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