Long Divergence How Islamic Law Held Back the Middle East

ISBN-10: 0691156417
ISBN-13: 9780691156415
Edition: 2011
Authors: Timur Kuran
List price: $28.95
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Description: In the year 1000, the economy of the Middle East was at least as advanced as that of Europe. But by 1800, the region had fallen dramatically behind--in living standards, technology, and economic institutions. In short, the Middle East had failed to  More...

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Book details

List price: $28.95
Copyright year: 2011
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 11/11/2012
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 432
Size: 6.25" wide x 9.50" long x 1.25" tall
Weight: 1.298
Language: English

In the year 1000, the economy of the Middle East was at least as advanced as that of Europe. But by 1800, the region had fallen dramatically behind--in living standards, technology, and economic institutions. In short, the Middle East had failed to modernize economically as the West surged ahead. What caused this long divergence? And why does the Middle East remain drastically underdeveloped compared to the West? InThe Long Divergence, one of the world's leading experts on Islamic economic institutions and the economy of the Middle East provides a new answer to these long-debated questions.Timur Kuran argues that what slowed the economic development of the Middle East was not colonialism or geography, still less Muslim attitudes or some incompatibility between Islam and capitalism. Rather, starting around the tenth century, Islamic legal institutions, which had benefitted the Middle Eastern economy in the early centuries of Islam, began to act as a drag on development by slowing or blocking the emergence of central features of modern economic life--including private capital accumulation, corporations, large-scale production, and impersonal exchange. By the nineteenth century, modern economic institutions began to be transplanted to the Middle East, but its economy has not caught up. And there is no quick fix today. Low trust, rampant corruption, and weak civil societies--all characteristic of the region's economies today and all legacies of its economic history--will take generations to overcome.The Long Divergenceopens up a frank and honest debate on a crucial issue that even some of the most ardent secularists in the Muslim world have hesitated to discuss.

Timur Kuran is professor of economics and political science and the Gorter Family Professor of Islamic Studies at Duke University. He is the author of "Islam and Mammon: The Economic Predicaments of Islamism" (Princeton).

Preface
Introduction
The Puzzle, of the Middle East's Economic Underdevelopment
Analyzing the Economic Role of Islam
Organizational Stagnation
Commercial Life under Islamic Rule
The Persistent Simplicity of Islamic Partnerships
Drawbacks of the Islamic Inheritance System
The Absence of the Corporation in Islamic Law
Barriers to the Emergence of a Middle Eastern Business Corporation
Credit Markets without Banks
The Makings of Underdevelopment
The Islamization of Non-Muslim Economic Life
The Ascent of the Middle East's Religious Minorities
Origins and Fiscal Impact of the Capitulations
Foreign Privileges as Facilitators of Impersonal Exchange
The Absence of Middle Eastern Consuls
Conclusions
Did Islam Inhibit Economic Development?
Notes
References
Index

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