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In the Name of God بسم الله
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ashtonh2001

Islamic Socialism

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Dr. Ali Shariati made use of socialist ideas and terminologies in his sociological and political works, but he was more or less arguing that Islam, namely Shi'ite Islam, was its own independent economic and political system. He just translated a lot of Islamic ideas regarding government and social organization, as he understood them, into the socialist and Marxist idiom that was popular at the time. A lot of youth in Iran had been swayed by Marxism and other political ideologies from the West and so men like Shariati wanted to try to bring them back into the fold of Islam by arguing that the religion not only provided at its core all the solutions to the same problems Marxists and socialists sought to amend, but also provided much more. Shariati was critical of Marx and other socialist thinkers.

 

I wouldn't call Shariati's ideas "Islamic socialism," in the usual sense of the word, that is socialism with Islamic slogans sprinkled on top, but he did argue that Islam was at its core a "religion of revolution" of the proletariat which, if stripped of innovations in favor of old oppressive institutions of monarchy, nobility, and private property (which in Shariati's view contradicted the principles of the Islam of Ahlul Bayt) it would bring about a socialist world far more effectively than any of the secular ideologies which denied the sacred nature of the universe and man.

 

Also, on the Shi'i front would be Jalal Al-e Ahmad, whose best known work is "Occidentosis," which unfortunately I haven't yet had the chance to read.

 

For Sunnis, the most famous of the so called "Islamic socialists" would probably be Gamal Abdel Nasser 

Edited by Saintly_Jinn23

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Dr. Ali Shariati made use of socialist ideas and terminologies in his sociological and political works, but he was more or less arguing that Islam, namely Shi'ite Islam, was its own independent economic and political system. He just translated a lot of Islamic ideas regarding government and social organization, as he understood them, into the socialist and Marxist idiom that was popular at the time. A lot of youth in Iran had been swayed by Marxism and other political ideologies from the West and so men like Shariati wanted to try to bring them back into the fold of Islam by arguing that the religion not only provided at its core all the solutions to the same problems Marxists and socialists sought to amend, but also provided much more. Shariati was critical of Marx and other socialist thinkers.

 

I wouldn't call Shariati's ideas "Islamic socialism," in the usual sense of the word, that is socialism with Islamic slogans sprinkled on top, but he did argue that Islam was at its core a "religion of revolution" of the proletariat which, if stripped of innovations in favor of old oppressive institutions of monarchy, nobility, and private property (which in Shariati's view contradicted the principles of the Islam of Ahlul Bayt) it would bring about a socialist world far more effectively than any of the secular ideologies which denied the sacred nature of the universe and man.

 

Also, on the Shi'i front would be Jalal Al-e Ahmad, whose best known work is "Occidentosis," which unfortunately I haven't yet had the chance to read.

 

For Sunnis, the most famous of the so called "Islamic socialists" would probably be Gamal Abdel Nasser 

Have you read the book Iqtisaduna by Muhamad Baqir Al Sadr?

I slam has its impact on all Musim thinkers that wrote about the issue of islamic economy. Capitalist in its laws, socialist in its morals.

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^ ^ ^

 

I personally think we as Muslims should refrain from using words like socialism or capitalism too often when discussing Islamic economics or political theory. Islam, traditionally, is its own spectrum and using such modern terms to describe its political or economic theories can be more than a little misleading.

Edited by Saintly_Jinn23

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Salam,

Just because I personally believe that I personally deserve to have 50% of Bill Gates earnings dont make it morally justifiable for me to steal it? Now some people see it in this way: we all give X% / month for investments for our common good & that's why taking is justifiable & not the same as theft. That a group of individuals has the ability to decide over the private property of another group of individuals so long as the group deciding is A: larger or B: possesses superior military capabilities.

I think it's bad anyways & that all taxes should be voluntary because in that way each individual could chose wether to partake or not & if, in what type of system. Some are convinced in the greatness of free-market capitalism, some in socialism. The shi'i communities already have a great praxis for taxing via Khums

Edited by Shamati

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Hello,

 

 

I think it's bad anyways & that all taxes should be voluntary because in that way each individual could chose wether to partake or not & if, in what type of system. Some are convinced in the greatness of free-market capitalism, some in socialism. The shi'i communities already have a great praxis for taxing via Khums

 

I do not think a voluntary taxation system would work.  Could those that opt out of paying tax still use roads and highways?  Could they still tap into the municipal water system and sewer system.  Could they still access the services of police, firefighters and first responders?  What about the legal system?  How would this get funded?

 

This is a big issue in Greece.  No one wants to pay their taxes.  But, they still want access to government services and pensions.

 

Within a community there are communal interest that logically are best funded by the community as a whole.  To access and/or benefit from these "interest" while not being willing to help fund them is, in my opinion, theft.

 

The age old question is what should the "community" be funding and what level of taxation is fair.  And, when does it become excessive and a hindrance to creativity and growth.

 

All the Best,

David

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^

In such a society all those things should be operated by private individuals or cooperatives etc. In Greece they still have all institutions, roades, welfare etc operating as if it were a state where taxes was collected from all except that the state is unable to tax the population.

If they dont want to pay they should be left to their own devices & reap what they've sown, if not a voluntary organisation working for free would help them.

Back in the days of Kings the taxation level was much lower & the King provided for the military protection only & let the other things be organized by communities themselves, such as roads etc.

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^ Hello,

 

I disagree.  Maybe such a system worked long ago but it will not work in the modern world.  How can they opt out and not become a burden on society?  Maybe, if they are in an very isolated local.  Would you want to live next door to a family that has decided not to pay taxes and therefore they can not hook up to the sewer system.  The smell from the outhouse next door might not be too pleasant.

 

And, letting individual communities organize all activities other than military protection would create very inefficient economic system that could not survive in the modern world.  Can you imagine if the standard electrical voltage varied from community to community?  If the currency varied from community to community, if rail line standards and weights and measures varied from community to community?  etc.  These things vary on a large scale, i.e. country to country.  And, this variance creates economic inefficiencies.  The "United" States and the European "Union" are examples of "communities" coming together to create standards and a more efficient economy.  I think this trend will continue. 

 

The opt out option began it's long death march when humans transitioned from hunter-gathers to farmers.

 

Plus, Have you never watched a Sci-Fi movie?  The humans always speak the same language, wear the same clothes and use the same currency.  :)

 

All the Best,

David

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Salam,

Just because I personally believe that I personally deserve to have 50% of Bill Gates earnings dont make it morally justifiable for me to steal it? Now some people see it in this way: we all give X% / month for investments for our common good & that's why taking is justifiable & not the same as theft. That a group of individuals has the ability to decide over the private property of another group of individuals so long as the group deciding is A: larger or B: possesses superior military capabilities.

I think it's bad anyways & that all taxes should be voluntary because in that way each individual could chose wether to partake or not & if, in what type of system. Some are convinced in the greatness of free-market capitalism, some in socialism. The shi'i communities already have a great praxis for taxing via Khums

 

You are entitled to your opinion but it is not theft.  Bill Gates has been able to amass a fortune by taking advantage of countless state laws (copyright/intellectual property rights etc), an immeasurable amount of public research and labour.  If you are a part of a community and you utilize a vast amount of it's resources to eventually realize massive capital gains for yourself, then you owe it to that community to payback whatever is deemed fair.  In the case of Bill Gates and firms like Apple, its nowhere near enough as it is.

 

People tend to forget that it was the public which subsidised technological research that eventually led to the creation of computers and the internet.  The likes of Bill gates and Steve Jobs only tend to enter the picture after decades of highly risky public investment and subsequent technological breakthroughs are made, which private for profit firms can then commercialize to realize profits.  The personal computer was not an out of this world technological breakthrough, it simply required a reconfiguration of the amazing technology that was already present.  You couple all this with the state security apparatus, the logistical benefits, monopoly facilitation, and labour exploitation, I really wouldn't consider taxes theft.

 

As far as voluntary taxation goes, the moral argument against it is obvious as I briefly touched on it above, but even practically speaking, it makes little or no economic sense, as no viable economic system would be able to survive without adequate taxation.  Wealthy people are not by themselves interested in paying taxes and this is a historic fact, most of them wouldn't be half as wealthy in the first place.

Edited by King

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^^Hello,

 

"Wealthy people are not by themselves interested in paying taxes and this is a historic fact" 

 

What person is ecstatic about paying taxes?  But, we all want our lights to come on when we flick the switch, we want our toilet to flush, we want decent roads to drive on, we want the murderer/rapist/thief to be separated from society, etc.  Taxes are the price for living in a civilized society. 

 

Societies with weak tax systems seem to also have weak, corrupt governments.  If the tax revenue is not enough to pay a police force, then, the police force will generate income via bribes and intimidation.  If tax revenue is not enough to pay politicians, then politicians will survive on kick backs.  This is a huge over simplification I know.  But, I think it has merit.

 

^ The only voluntary tax I can think of is tips.  Not a bad system in some cases.

 

All the Best,

David

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Voluntary taxes would be, for example, sales tax, highway tolls, property tax and such?

 

The problem with the current taxation system is that the tax burden has gradually been shifted on the poor/working class.  Only around 1% of Americans own bonds, about 12-13% own stocks, these are a form of properties that are not taxed, yet property which the vast majority of public holds, such as your home, you have to pay property tax.  There is a reason Mitt Romney's tax return was brought up during the run up to the elections, he had made in the ball park of 15 million in income and effectively paid a much lower rate of tax (14% or so, I don't recall correctly) since most of his earnings were from investments etc.  Corporate tax and progressive taxation is the same story, it used to be a totally different picture back in the 50s and 60s when the US enjoyed the greatest growth period in its history.  

^^Hello,

 

"Wealthy people are not by themselves interested in paying taxes and this is a historic fact" 

 

What person is ecstatic about paying taxes? 

All the Best,

David

 

I don't know about you, but I don't have a problem at all with a portion of my income being used in public programs to help out those who cannot afford essential services (quite happy in fact) and even myself through the continuous use of public services.  There is nothing immoral in principle with taxation, it's just a matter of people coming together, and pooling their money to fund the programs they deem important for society, this is how democratic governments are supposed to function.  It is wrong to assume most people mind paying taxes or even that they only do not mind paying taxes for selfish reasons, most people simply mind improper use, waste and unfair taxation policies which heavily favour one class over the other.  

 

Most of us are concerned about orphans, public schooling, public research, universal healthcare, the elderly and the families away from urban areas where for profit services companies do not venture, so we are glad to fund such programs, even if they might be of relatively less help to us.  The problem is that charity alone is not sufficient to achieve these goals, so that suggestion is a non starter.  You will notice that the most vehement propaganda to cut these social programs and reduce taxation actually to this day still comes from the wealthy sectors of society.

Edited by King

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^Hello,

 

Yes, I agree.  The rich can structure their sources of income to minimize taxes.  Mitt Romney pays the same tax rate, or less, than your average "middle class" worker.  Definitely not equitable.  An equitable tax scheme has yet to be devised and I doubt it ever will.  I would like to see all income over 1,000 times the minimum wage taxed at a flat 50 percent.  Then, all income over $15 million per year would be taxed at 50 percent.  And, is there a a person contributing to society 1000 times more than your average worker?  I don't think so.  But, the rich would find ways around it unfortunately. 

 

 


I don't know about you, but I don't have a problem at all with a portion of my income being used in public programs to help out those who cannot afford essential services (quite happy in fact) and even myself through the continuous use of public services.  There is nothing immoral in principle with taxation, it's just a matter of people coming together, and pooling their money to fund the programs they deem important for society, this is how democratic governments are supposed to function.  It is wrong to assume most people mind paying taxes or even that they only do not mind paying taxes for selfish reasons, most people simply mind improper use, waste and unfair taxation policies which heavily favour one class over the other.  

 

 

I agree.  But, sometimes I still gripe when I see my pay check.

 

All the Best,

David

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I agree.  But, sometimes I still gripe when I see my pay check.

 

 

I don't complain about the taxes that are removed from my paycheck.  I complain when I find out about waste and misuse of my money.

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Voluntary taxes would be, for example, sales tax, highway tolls, property tax and such?

 

A couple of weeks ago I received a notice from Excise and Taxation Department about last year's property tax which I could not pay as I lost the challan form and was too busy afterwards to go to their offices to get bogged down in red tape just to get a new copy of the same so I could pay the annual property tax at a bank. A year passed. This year I get a notice that if I don't pay previous and this year's tax with penalty, they will seal my property, arrest me and charge me for tax evasion. I have been given 30 days to respond to the notice.

 

This and other taxes you mentioned are only voluntary if you don't own a property, don't buy anything on which sales tax applies, and don't call their toll booths on the highway. Otherwise these are as compulsory as income tax.

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A couple of weeks ago I received a notice from Excise and Taxation Department about last year's property tax which I could not pay as I lost the challan form and was too busy afterwards to go to their offices to get bogged down in red tape just to get a new copy of the same so I could pay the annual property tax at a bank. A year passed. This year I get a notice that if I don't pay previous and this year's tax with penalty, they will seal my property, arrest me and charge me for tax evasion. I have been given 30 days to respond to the notice.

 

This and other taxes you mentioned are only voluntary if you don't own a property, don't buy anything on which sales tax applies, and don't call their toll booths on the highway. Otherwise these are as compulsory as income tax.

 

Precisely!  These are things which are possible but highly impractical to avoid.

 

So what would be an example of a voluntary tax?  Just ask politely for donations?   :huh:

 

 

Nobody WANTS to pay taxes, but they want the services that taxes pay for.  People who are not stupid can arrive at the conclusion that taxes are necessary for these services to be provided.

 

But the population should absolutely have control over how the tax money gets used.  I'd choose poverty/social programs, education, and science as my top funding priorities.  Another person might choose differently.  We should have a table on our tax return where we get to designate where our tax money goes.  (But I bet the NSA would have a hard time continuing to exist.)

Edited by notme

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Precisely!  These are things which are possible but highly impractical to avoid.

 

So what would be an example of a voluntary tax?  Just ask politely for donations?   :huh:

 

Yep, voluntary tax does not exist. If it were voluntary it would be called donation or charity...to the government.

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The only voluntary tax I know of is the self-reporting of internet sales taxes from your purchases.

That isn't voluntary, and neither are taxes paid on tips.  It's just poorly regulated.  If you don't pay and you somehow manage to get caught, it will be tax evasion.

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^Hello,

 

Yes, I agree.  The rich can structure their sources of income to minimize taxes.  Mitt Romney pays the same tax rate, or less, than your average "middle class" worker.  Definitely not equitable.  An equitable tax scheme has yet to be devised and I doubt it ever will.  I would like to see all income over 1,000 times the minimum wage taxed at a flat 50 percent.  Then, all income over $15 million per year would be taxed at 50 percent.  And, is there a a person contributing to society 1000 times more than your average worker?  I don't think so.  But, the rich would find ways around it unfortunately. 

 

 

 

I agree.  But, sometimes I still gripe when I see my pay check.

 

All the Best,

David

Hello,

 

David66 is the ShiaChat resident troll. Interacting with him will bring frustration and time wasted. Read this thread, where a user wrote a lengthy essay in response to his trolling:

http://www.shiachat.com/forum/topic/235024791-lioness-of-iran-simin-behbahani-dies-age-87/#entry2732094

 

All the Best,

Anti-David

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Here's an excerpt from a great essay about the philosophy of private property & why it's the only viable option by the austrian philosopher Professor Hans Hermann Hoppe ( http://mises.org/daily/5270 )

The Problem of Social Order

Alone on his island, Robinson Crusoe can do whatever he pleases. For him, the question concerning rules of orderly human conduct — social cooperation — simply does not arise. This question can only arise once a second person, Friday, arrives on the island. Yet even then, the question remains largely irrelevant so long as no scarcity exists. Suppose the island is the Garden of Eden. All external goods are available in superabundance. They are "free goods," just as the air that we breathe is normally a "free" good. Whatever Crusoe does with these goods, his actions have no repercussions — neither with respect to his own future supply of such goods nor regarding the present or future supply of the same goods for Friday (and vice versa). Hence, it is impossible that a conflict concerning the use of such goods could arise between Crusoe and Friday. A conflict is possible only if goods are scarce; and only then is there a need to formulate rules that make orderly, conflict-free social cooperation possible.

In the Garden of Eden only two scarce goods exist: a person's physical body and its standing room. Crusoe and Friday each have only one body and can stand only at one place at a time. Hence, even in the Garden of Eden conflicts between Crusoe and Friday can arise: Crusoe and Friday cannot occupy the same standing room simultaneously without coming into physical conflict with each other. Accordingly, even in the Garden of Eden rules of orderly social conduct must exist — rules regarding the proper location and movement of human bodies. Outside the Garden of Eden, in the realm of all-around scarcity, there must be rules that regulate the use not only of personal bodies, but of everything scarce, such that all possible conflicts can be ruled out. This is the problem of social order.

The Solution: The Idea of Private Property

In the history of social and political thought, myriad proposals have been offered as solutions to the problem of social order, and this multitude of mutually incompatible proposals has contributed to the widespread belief that the search for a single "correct" solution is futile and illusory. Yet a correct solution does exist. There is no reason to succumb to moral relativism. Indeed, the solution to the problem of social order has been known for hundreds of years. The solution is the idea of private property.

Let me formulate the solution first for the special case represented by the Garden of Eden and subsequently for the general case represented by the real world of all-around scarcity.

In the Garden of Eden, the solution is provided by the simple rule stipulating that everyone may place or move his own body wherever he pleases, provided only that no one else is already standing there and occupying the same space.

Outside of the Garden of Eden, in the realm of all-around scarcity, the solution is provided by four logically interrelated rules:

1: Every person is the private (exclusive) owner of his own physical body. Indeed, who else, if not Crusoe, should be the owner of Crusoe's body? Friday? Or Crusoe and Friday jointly? Yet that would not help avoid conflict. Rather, it would create conflict and make it permanent.

2: Every person is the private owner of all nature-given goods that he has perceived as scarce and put to use by means of his body, before any other person. Again, who else, if not the first user, should be their owner? The second user? Or the first and the second user jointly? Yet such rulings again would be contrary to the very purpose of norms: of helping to avoid conflict, rather than to create it.

3: Every person who, with the help of his body and his originally appropriated goods, produces new products thereby becomes the proper owner of these products, provided only that in the process of production he does not physically damage the goods owned by another person.

4: Once a good has been first appropriated or produced, ownership in it can be acquired only by means of a voluntary, contractual transfer of its property title from a previous to a later owner.

I can spare myself here the task of providing a detailed ethical as well as economic justification of these rules. This has been done elsewhere. However, a few statements in this connection are in order.

Contrary to the frequently heard claim that the institution of private property is only a convention, it must be categorically stated: a convention serves a purpose, and it is something to which an alternative exists. The Latin alphabet, for instance, serves the purpose of written communication and there exists an alternative to it, the Cyrillic alphabet. That is why it is referred to as a convention.

What, however, is the purpose of action norms? If no interpersonal conflict existed — that is: if, due to a prestabilized harmony of all interests, no situation ever arose in which two or more people want to use one and the same good in incompatible ways — then no norms would be needed. It is the purpose of norms to help avoid otherwise unavoidable conflict. A norm that generates conflict rather than helping to avoid it is contrary to the very purpose of norms. It is a dysfunctional norm or a perversion.

With regard to the purpose of conflict avoidance, however, the institution of private property is definitely not just a convention, because no alternative to it exists. Only private (exclusive) property makes it possible that all otherwise unavoidable conflicts can be avoided. And only the principle of property acquisition through acts of original appropriation, performed by specific individuals at a specific time and location, makes it possible to avoid conflict from the beginning of mankind onward, because only the first appropriation of some previously unappropriated good can be conflict-free — simply, because — no one else had any previous dealings with the good.

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Here's an excerpt from a great essay about the philosophy of private property & why it's the only viable option by the austrian philosopher Professor Hans Hermann Hoppe ( http://mises.org/daily/5270 )

 

 

Austrian economics which inspired the Chicago school of economics has been a leading proponent of the most destructive economic policies in contemporary history.  Only a bunch of right wing fanatics take the likes of Ayn Rand, Hayek and Milton Freidman seriously.

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Here's an excerpt from a great essay about the philosophy of private property & why it's the only viable option by the austrian philosopher Professor Hans Hermann Hoppe ( http://mises.org/daily/5270 )

 

 

That made a lot of sense, thanks, but how (according to Dr. Shariati) does private property contradict the principles of the Islam of Ahlul Bayt? 

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Austrian economics which inspired the Chicago school of economics has been a leading proponent of the most destructive economic policies in contemporary history.  Only a bunch of right wing fanatics take the likes of Ayn Rand, Hayek and Milton Freidman seriously.

guilt by association, argument invalid

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