The Schumpeterian Gap and Muslim economic thought
Ali, A. (1999) The Schumpeterian Gap and Muslim economic thought. Journal of Interdisciplinary Economics, 10 (1). pp. 31-49.
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Contemporary analytical economists normally date their origins from the late eighteenth century. We argue herein that a pseudo-scientificity (which omits normative information), combined with an overriding ethnocentrism, tends to lead the disciplinary agents of economics to ignore much economic thought outside the American-British-Continental axis.
The argument is developed beginning with Joseph A. Schumpeter’s classic, The History of Economic Analysis, which set what appears to have remained a trend in history of economic thought and analysis texts, by ignoring Arab/Islamic scholars.
At present, entire economies are organised, more or less, on Islamic principles. Islam is explicitly concerned with material life and provides numerous guidelines for the conduct of economic affairs for millions of people. While it is not the aim of this paper to examine the methodological or epistemological content of these principles, we argue that, at the very least, the history of economic thought should incorporate the work of Arab/Islamic thinkers.
The material foundation of Islam cannot be understood by students of a discipline which continues to promote a positivist, Cartesian, mathematical formalism, at the expense of understanding its contextual origins. The economies in which hundreds of millions of people live, work and produce, are being guided, for better or worse, by the epistemological premises of Islam. Until these premises are comprehended, and then critically evaluated, economists educated in the industrial west continue to marginalise themselves and their students in a manner which is no longer excusable.
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