Posts Tagged ‘economic freedom’

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Islamic law creates economic toilet bowl

November 9, 2011

Michael Schuman at Time magazine has written a good article openly supporting the theory that the Islamic world suffers economically because of Islamic law itself.  Normally, the mainstream media subject readers to arguments about the legacy of colonial “exploitation” or some other nonsense to explain Muslim poverty, so this honest acknowledgement of the obstacles to economic growth that Islam creates is quite refreshing.

Islam’s prohibition of riba (interest), while not specifically cited in the article, is certainly one of the major factors which retarded the development of modern financial systems in the Islamic world.

The economic condition of Islamic nations is quite depressing.  One recent article revealed that inequality is rampant across Islamic countries, and that 230 million people in Islamic countries suffer from hunger.  Amazingly, while millions of Muslims live in misery created largely by Islam, Iranians and Muslim allies of the Occupy Wall Street protestors have the nerve to criticize American capitalism and its effects on the world.

From Time’s Curious Capitalist blog on Oct. 18:

Is Islamic law to blame for the Middle East’s economic failures?

One of the great mysteries of economic history concerns how the Islamic world lost its mojo. A thousand years ago, the Middle East was richer and more influential in the global economy than Europe. According to data compiled by the late economist and statistical wizard Angus Maddison, the Middle East accounted for about 9.5% of global GDP in the year 1000 while Western Europe’s share was less than 9%. By 1700, however, the situation had totally reversed, with Western Europe commanding a hefty 22% of global GDP and the Middle East a pathetic 3%. The Arab world had controlled many of the lucrative trade routes between Asia and the West, but that role got usurped first by the Portuguese, then by the British and Dutch. What went wrong?

Economists and historians have struggled over that question for centuries. The answer is not just of academic interest. The revolutions that have swept through the Middle East, toppling dictators in Libya, Egypt and Tunisia, got a good part of their momentum from the widespread public frustration over the persistent lack of economic progress and opportunity omnipresent in the Middle East. Perhaps the biggest challenge facing the new governments that have emerged from the Arab Spring is providing the jobs and higher incomes all of those young people who participated in the rebellions desperately expect. If the new political leaders fail to deliver, the Arab Spring, which has brought such hope to the region, could deteriorate into a cycle of protest and political upheaval that will only set back its economic development.

There have been many theories of how the Middle East lost out economically to the West. But they have generally felt unsatisfactory. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Tut, tut, Turkmen

February 26, 2010

In addition to blacklisting Iran last week as a significant source of money laundering and terrorist financing, the Financial Action Task Force has declared that Turkmenistan has failed to address long-standing AML/CFT deficiencies.  FATF tried their hardest to sound polite in their public statement:

The FATF welcomes Turkmenistan’s continued progress in addressing its AML/CFT deficiencies, including by taking steps towards establishing a Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU). Given that the FIU is not yet operational, the FATF reiterates its 25 February 2009 statement informing financial institutions that these deficiencies constitute an ML/FT [money laundering/terrorist financing] vulnerability in the international financial system and that they should take appropriate measures to address this risk. Turkmenistan is urged to continue to take steps to implement an AML/CFT regime that meets international AML/CFT standards and to work closely with the Eurasian Group and the International Monetary Fund to achieve this.

This seems to be the latest in a series of black marks for the small, Central Asian state.  Money Jihad readers may remember that Turkmenistan was recently ranked 171 out of 179 countries in terms of economic freedom.  That put Turkmenistan in the “repressed” category just a couple notches below Iran.

The State Department’s annual report of religious freedom for 2009 noted several additional problems.  They found that in Turkmenistan (which is majority-Sunni Muslim with a large Russian Orthodox Christian minority), “Mosques and Muslim clergy are state-sponsored and financed. The Russian Orthodox Church and other religious groups are independently financed.”  The report also that Turkmenistan funded air fare for the hajj by some of their Muslim citizens.

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Little economic freedom in Muslim countries

January 25, 2010

The Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal have just published their 2010 Index of Economic Freedom.  Of the 41 majority-Muslim countries rated, 29 were designated poorly as either “mostly unfree” or “repressed.”

Eleven Muslim countries were deemed “moderately free,” and Bahrain, the highest rated Muslim country at #13, was the only one of the lot ranking “mostly free.”  Iran, Turkmenistan, and Libya ranked among the bottom dozen.

I filtered and sorted the index data to show you the index’s ranking for each Muslim nation:

Read the rest of this entry ?