By S.M. Ghazanfar
This booklet is a set of papers at the origins of monetary notion stumbled on within the writings of a few sought after Islamic students, through the 5 centuries sooner than the Latin Scholastics, who comprise St. Thomas Aquinas. this time period used to be labelled via Joseph Schumpeter as representing the 'great hole' in financial historical past. regrettably, this 'gap' is definitely embedded in such a lot correct literature. notwithstanding, in this interval the Islamic civilization was once the most fertile grounds for highbrow advancements in a number of disciplines, together with economics, and this ebook makes an attempt to fill that blind-spot within the background of monetary proposal.
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Additional resources for Medieval Islamic Economic Thought: Filling the Great Gap in European Economics (Islamic Studies)
A full appreciation of the depth and breadth of his insights becomes evident from the following: Perhaps farmers live where farming tools are not available. Blacksmiths and carpenters live where farming is lacking. So, the farmer needs blacksmiths and carpenters, and they in turn need farmers. Naturally, each will want to satisfy his needs by giving up in exchange a portion of what he possesses. But, it is also possible that when the carpenter wants food in exchange for tools, the farmer does not need the tools.
Anyone who converts them into utensils of gold and silver is ungrateful to his Creator and worse than the hoarder of money, for such a person is like one who forces the ruler to perform unsuitable functions—as weaving cloth, collecting taxes, etc. Hoarding of coins may be preferable to conversion, for there are other metals and materials -copper, bronze, iron, clay—usable to make utensils. But, clay and iron cannot be used for the functions performed by dirhams and dinars. (Ihya, 4:91–3) Counterfeiting and currency debasement Historically, gold and silver have been the most important metals used as commodity money.
Various goods such as these need a medium which could rule justly and determine their value in exchange. When their place and grades are ascertained, it is possible to distinguish which ones are equal to each other and which are not. So it is said a camel is, say, equal to 100 dinars and this much quantity of saffron is worth 100 dinars. Since each is equal to a given amount of dinars, the two quantities are equal to each other. But those dirhams and dinars are not needed for themselves. They are created to change hands and to establish rules for exchange with justice and for buying goods which have usefulness.