Some of the Islamic principles and institutions can be integrated in the mainstream economics framework, especially in research studies where the objective is to understand and describe reality rather than persuasion and idealization.
In Islamic economic framework, increase in investment through entrepreneurial activities could increase the labor demand and wages. Increase in wages will improve the standard of living of poor labor class and enable them to improve their productivity further.
Interest based financial system discourages investment in socially optimal profitable projects, but which are not favored because of relative cost comparison from the market interest rate. If sales do not increase, it may lead to business cycle fluctuations with unplanned increase in inventories. With increased pressure to service debt, the environmental degradation and human resource exploitation may become common and secondary concerns.
It is an empirical observation that people desire to have smooth consumption throughout their lifetimes. Lifecycle consumption hypothesis (LCH) and permanent income hypothesis (PIH) try to explain that in micro-founded framework. Both negate the Keynes assertion that average propensity to consume (APC) falls as income rises. Some micro-economic evidence is also broadly consistent with LCH and PIH, at least in advanced economies.
Islam allows wage differentials based on productivity differences, but does not allow discrimination. Furthermore, if wage differentials are because of characteristics that require equitable distribution and access to resources, then, Islam has unique mechanisms that ensure equitable distribution of resources and opportunities.
With higher levels of investment, circulation of wealth and competitive markets, innovation and quality enhancement will be the only means of sustaining the edge for firms in an Islamic economic framework. Hence, there will be more focus on innovation, customer satisfaction and hence speed of innovation and productivity is expected to increase. The supply side of innovation, which is the human capital, will also be incentivized through employment creation as a result of removing concentration and idleness of wealth.
As per Islamic principles, within certain bounds, the market forces can operate and will determine which goods should be produced and offered at what price. The major difference from capitalistic system is that rather than having a fixed compensation, the capital will only earn a share in actual profit/loss out of the production process in which it is used.
In neoclassical growth theories, the emphasis is on increasing savings and technological progress which brings about increase in capital per worker and eventually output per worker. In ‘endogenous growth theory’ models, more sophisticated work has been done by determining the factors which affect the technology, human capital and savings. This article analyzes whether Islamic economic principles have the capacity to help build these elements for sustainable growth and development.
History of economic man is fascinating. He has used the nature’s blessings to find and create new and innovative ways of maximizing utility. But, nonetheless, at all points in time, he does not feel satiated. He remains poor ‘relatively’ to the limitless desires and nature’s limitations. The dream of being ‘truly apart’ only remains a dream in everyone’s life. But, then, everyone achieves it one day. There is one place that everyone reaches where he is not accompanied by anyone. It’s his or her grave. Belief in life hereafter is the only thing that gives meaning to this world and life.
Unrestrained chase of self-interest, moral relativism, incentive-led economic choices and indifference to collective responsibilities has led to engender societies where economic interests have become the solitary basis of establishing and maintaining relationships.