Timur Kuran on Islamic Economics
Date: January 9th, 2012

What is Islamic economics?  Prof. Timur Kuran, professor of economics & political science and the Gorter Family Professor of Islamic Studies at Duke University, gives us a superb summary of the emergence of this intellectual movement and shows how the principles of Islamic economics have been implemented.  Prof. Kuran begins by defining what this movement is and when it emerged.  It is revealed that although the ideas behind Islamic economics harken back to early Muslim history, the modern manifestation of this thinking dates back to the 1930s when Sayyid Abul-Ala Mawdudi, an Indian Muslim, grew concerned over Muslim indebtedness to Hindus and how this would play out in the nation’s eventual decolonization.  Timur also recounts how this thought is related to the more general Islamist movement that began growing during the middle part of the 20th century.  Our conversation then turns to some of the specific policy prescriptions offered up by Islamist economists, including prohibitions on interest and the promotion of social welfare via the traditional zakat.  Prof. Kuran explains the logic behind these proposals as well as some of the unintended consequences introduced by Islamic banking and efforts to centralize zakat via government fiat.  The discussion is not only useful for understanding some current themes within Islam, but it is also a great primer on basic economics.  Recorded: December 29, 2011.


 Timur Kuran’s website at Duke University.

Islam & Mammon: The Economic Predicaments of Islamism by Timur Kuran.

The Long Divergence: How Islamic Law Held Back the Middle East by Timur Kuran.

Private Truths, Public Lies: The Social Consequences of Preference Falsification by Timur Kuran.


Timur Kuran on Islamic Law and Economic Development.

Jared Rubin on Christian and Islamic Economic History.

Nathan Brown on the Muslim Brotherhood.




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