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In the Name of God بسم الله
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About this blog

Ideas about modern issues from an Islamic perspective.

Entries in this blog

All this on a Ford factory worker's wages

Why has the West seen falling living standards? Variations on this question are commonly asked on social media. The common theme is that living standards in the West used to be so good but what happened? Popular answers to the following tweet include: But they didn't have internet and dad worked 50-60 hours a week Our rulers sent jobs overseas Women thought it would be a good idea to work Bigger government Inflation I think the real answers ar

Haji 2003

Haji 2003 in Economics

Money, markets and minorities Pt2

Background In the following blog post, I argued that minorities can economically outperform majorities in a society and that this may require actions to protect the interests of the majority. Overall this discussion picks up issues around Islamic regulations around the rights and obligations of minority communities in an Islamic society, where minorities are referred to as 'dhimmis'. In contemporary Western society where there is an overarching interest in 'equality' these regulations

Haji 2003

Haji 2003 in Economics

Prophet Nuh (عليه السلام) an early social entrepreneur V2

Same methodology as before, but more specific prompts on my part - and better answers   Summary An important motivation for exploring this topic was my previous blog post about Prophet Yusuf's ((عليه السلام).) policy options. The overall theme of that post was the role of the State (Egyptian) that would intervene in the national grain market on the advice of Prophet Yusuf ((عليه السلام).). That was an example of how (in my opinion) Islam presented a non-market based solution to an

Haji 2003

Haji 2003 in Economics

Whichever option you choose - you lose

[updated in May 2023 to include the Nvidia example and refine the argument overall].   Summary When you are in a weak position, all the choices you have are bad ones. Your opponent who dominates you due to more and/or better resources will ultimately prevail. It has historically been easy to 'blame' the Palestinians and other indigenous groups for their loss of territory. But we are fortunate enough to live through a period where erstwhile powerful nations are being made to s

Haji 2003

Haji 2003 in Economics

Misplaced Trust

Summary Following someone else's lead (whether their advice or actions) because they are credible is not sufficient. You need to understand the motives for their actions. The problem https://www.forbes.com/profile/sam-bankman-fried/?sh=2e43415d4449 The firm grew to this size because of investments by large, well-known and reputable organisations, which in turn drew in investments from many other smaller investors. One of those reputable investors was Temasek (the Singapore

Haji 2003

Haji 2003 in Economics

Riba and economic inequality

Summary For Muslims, the questions around Riba are focused at the level of the individual because we want to know what we can and cannot do. This post looks at the broader societal issue. The conclusion is that riba and the business of lending can increase economic inequality between different segments in society. Assuming an Islamic state has an overriding need to address economic inequality - it cannot accede to the provision of credit in a manner that we are used to in the West.

Haji 2003

Haji 2003 in Economics

Money, markets and minorities

Summary Buying and selling in the market place may provide advantages to minority groups at the expense of the majority. A State that represents the majority may need to act in order to address the imbalance in a manner that may seem on the face of it to be discriminatory. The impact of buying and selling in the market place The problem with money and markets is that they strip exchanges between people of all social and cultural content. In market-based exchanges, you can buy/sell

Haji 2003

Haji 2003 in Economics

The role information in exchanges - Introduction

Summary I have a few blog posts dealing with knowledge and information (see links at the end of this post). Some of that material tries to frame Qur'anic injunctions in terms of contemporary ideas about exchange to help understand them and their direction better. This post provides some basic background to the contemporary concepts I am familiar with and which underpin some of that discussion. The ideas here are taken from the economics discipline. I have taken care to only reference c

Haji 2003

Haji 2003 in Economics

Prophet Yusuf's (عليه السلام) policy options

[amended 19 August 2023 to include references to the Irish potato famine and two Bengal famines] Surah Yusuf Prophet Yusuf (عليه السلام) advised Pharoah to hoard grains during the years of plenty. I think this episode is a noteworthy one because it shows how a State can intervene in the marketplace in order to improve the welfare of the wider population. But as we shall see below, the government intervention that Prophet Yusuf (عليه السلام) instigated favoured some sections of the

Haji 2003

Haji 2003 in Economics

Where Saudi sports and entertainment initiatives are headed

TL:DR Saudi is increasing investments in sports and entertainment. This is supposedly diversifying the economy away from oil and gas. They are also laying open Saudi to 'international consumer culture' because these industries also rely on international tourists. To cater for the latter you have to accommodate their tastes and these include alcohol, music and the exploitation of women.  By investing now in these industries the Saudi government is making itself hostage (deliberately) to

Haji 2003

Haji 2003 in Economics

Private sufficiency and public luxury

In Shiachat threads many years ago the argument was presented that the sums spent e.g. on the Imam Raza ((عليه السلام).) shrine could be better spent on various social services for Iranians. My counter argument at the time was that visiting the shrines was and is for many ordinary Iranians their only escape from the mundane aspects of everyday life. In addition spending such sums on the social space meant that it could be consumed by all, rather than the few. The British journalist and

Haji 2003

Haji 2003 in Economics

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