Posts Tagged ‘hunger’

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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 ?