Islam and Mammon: The Economic Predicaments of Islamism by Timur KuranIslam and Mammon: The Economic Predicaments of Islamism by Timur Kuran

Islam and Mammon: The Economic Predicaments of Islamism

byTimur Kuran

Paperback | December 25, 2005

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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 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.

Timur Kuran is Professor of Economics and Law, and King Faisal Professor of Islamic Thought and Culture, at the University of Southern California. His books include Private Truths, Public Lies.
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Title:Islam and Mammon: The Economic Predicaments of IslamismFormat:PaperbackDimensions:240 pagesPublished:December 25, 2005Publisher:Princeton University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0691126291

ISBN - 13:9780691126296

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Table of Contents

Preface ix

CHAPTER ONE

The Economic Impact of Islamism 1

CHAPTER TWO

Islamic Economics and the Islamic Subeconomy 38

CHAPTER THREE

Islamism and Economics: Policy Prescriptions for a Free Society 55

CHAPTER FOUR

The Genesis of Islamic Economics: A Chapter in the Politics

of Muslim Identity 82

CHAPTER FIVE

The Notion of Economic Justice in Contemporary Islamic Thought 103

CHAPTER SIX

Islam and Underdevelopment: An Old Puzzle Revisited 121

Notes 149

References 169

Index 189

Editorial Reviews

"Timur Kuran has brought serious scholarship to a subject the rest of us have lacked the skill or courage to address. Moreover, he has managed to package this major achievement in a book that is well-written, timely, and accessible to a broad audience."-Laurence R. Iannaccone, George Mason University