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Sakmongkol ak 47

Sunday 6 December 2009

False premises, invalid conclusions.

False premises, invalid conclusions.

I shall try to talk about Islam and its effect on economic growth. Why is the economic performance of Islamic countries so uneven? Bangladesh is among the poorest. The conditions in some Middle Eastern countries are not much better. They have arrived into the 21st century later than non Muslim countries.

It is easy to accuse Islam as being anti development given the facts about Islamic countries. In fact while I am writing this article, there's a commentator who calls himself Dense who stated that Malaysia progresses slower because of Islam. I hope before he ejaculates prematurely, this essay will correct his views. But then who am I to argue with a person calling himself Dense?

We are not going to deny the facts. We'll make today, Dense's day. Take any measures of progress- GDP, Per Capita Income, GINI Coefficients literacy rate, educational levels and whatever other measures; One is likely to be disappointed with the performance of Islamic countries. They would reinforce the assumption that Islam is inimical to economic development. Islamic countries are a byword for economic stagnation.

Our disappointment I pray has not gone up to the level of having our faith shaken. I hope.

Using these measures can we justify our accusation that religion is responsible for Muslim progress? Wasn't Catholicism blamed for the poverty of many Christian nations at one point in time?

This is what we hope to debunk. The point is this. Faith seems to exercise its influence on growth in more devious ways. It has less to do with the doctrines and governing philosophies (the 4 Muslim schools of Jurisprudence for example). It has more to do with the actions of, hear this – priests, politicians, monarchs and bureaucrats exploiting religious doctrine to pursue baser temporal goals.

Let's digress a little. Many UMNO politicians insist the primum mobile (loosely translated to mean, prime mover) of UMNO is Malay Nationalism. Let's accept that. In its crudest form, it means Malay first over others.

If this has been practiced since UMNO's founding in 1946, why is it that Malays arrived at the 21st century slower than non Malay Malaysians? To me the answer is simple. The doctrines of Malay Nationalism have been hijacked by priests, politicians, monarchs- etc, you know the drill- to pursue their own private interests. Just like Islam, Malay Nationalism impacted Malay progress in more devious ways.

Readers may be aware that discussions about the influence of religion on economic progress have a long history. Max Weber for example thought that Islamic religion was hostile to development. This thinking appears to persist and percolate through the ages. Within western and Caucasian societies, those sections which have rebelled and gone against the grain were the ones who went on to achieve success. These included adherents to the lower church of Calvinist Protestantism as opposed to the Catholics.

Calvinist thinking according to Weber helped create the supporting mindset that was conducive to capitalism and this according to Weber explained the success of countries like Protestant England and Netherlands.

We are not going into the details on the debates that followed Weber's thinking. But in the last few decades of the 20th century, Weber's ideas were not all triumphant. For example, in the 1960's Weberian thinkers could point to the lack of progress in Catholic countries such as Ireland, Spain and Italy. Weber's theories were largely undermined when these countries registered high economic growth. In other words, Protestant economic superiority over Catholicism became increasingly difficult to defend.

Having lost the battleground on which to test the validity of Weber's theories because the divide between Catholic and Protestant economies is diminished, a new battleground to rescue the credibility of Weber's thinking needed to be found. The lack of economic progress in Muslim countries appears to provide respite for Weber's thinking.

And so when I heard the blonde newsreader on CNN suggesting that perhaps the Islamic ban on the charging of interest may have contributed to the financial mess in Dubai, I was telling myself- this is the risk when one allows an overrated newsreader with a 101 level in Weberian studies, offer thoughts on what's happening in the Islamic world. It becomes even more dangerous when such thinking is accepted without challenge.

It's easy to take a swing at Muslim countries.

People will quickly point out to the fact that the Quran bans usury whereas the charging of interest is an essential element of modern commerce. Thus by banning interests, it is suggested, Islam is anti commerce. But people forget that Islam is the only religion whose prophet did business.

It's also easy to take a swing at Muslim countries for the reasons we have given above. Islamic countries are a byword for economic stagnation. Are not most of the Islamic countries living off their oil reserves instead of actually producing something?

And it is also entertaining to take a swing at Muslim countries by pointing out to the Muslim's predilection with fate as opposed to striking out independently as being a reason holding back the Muslims.

So it seems that maybe Islam does indeed limit progress of Islamic countries. But as we shall see, just as Weber's thinking on the protestant and catholic divide becomes increasingly difficult to defend, so too his ideas, if people think can be rescued by pointing to the effect of the Islamic religion on the progress of Muslim countries will also be found wanting.

But that is a story in the next section of this essay.


Anonymous,  7 December 2009 at 01:13  

Why Islamic countries progress slower than non Islamic countries.

Interesting topic, may join in with some reasons?

It is easy to blame people who live in the Islamic countries progress slower than the people live in the non Islamic countries.

But, if you look at physical development yes, you can see it much slower than that of in non Islamic countries. Although there are also non Islamic countries that have been lacking in many aspects of their physical development.

Let us not go very far, let us see Kelantan for example. So in Kelantan I think the Islamic principles used are somehow similar with some other Islamic countries, and the State is running at a low gear economically since the last 20 years. For what reasons?

Reasons are probably seems very simple. All people are being mislead by the true meaning of Islam and there is no progress in the understanding of that religion among the main public,we are still the orthodox those who have been left for century just like the old Christianity.

No progress in religion and no progress in real physical development of the state.

Fi-sha 7 December 2009 at 08:28  


Dato' Sak

I hope we could see beyond religions, for the real reasons of any Muslim Countries lagged behind are tribal (people), political and geographical, amongst others.

Do a wiki on Bangladesh and we'd know why it's amongst the poorest. Still, this poor country produced one of the most brilliant global citizens by the name of Prof. Muhammad Yunus with his enlightening Grameen Bank.

As for Kelantan, we all know why it's so 'laid back' in economy. It's simply political intervention and misconception planted in our head by those 'yang iri hati'.

Hopefully we don't equate economic growth with how many projects we have but on how many projects that bring in the economic benefits to the surrounding environment and its people. Well, look at Terengganu and we'd see how many 'gajah putih' we have.

But I do have to agree with Dense when he says that Malaysia progresses slower because of Islam. It's not the religion per se but the people who misused the religion as part of their 'scare tactics'.

Tell me who would want to put their money in when everything changes as and when it suits one's self-centred purpose.

msleepyhead 7 December 2009 at 10:27  

Dato' Sak,

The same religion is interpreted differently by people of different cultural backgrounds.

It is highly doubtful if a culture is not one of commerce or material accumulation to begin with, then somehow religion will change that.

Furthermore, religion places emphasis on the afterlife and temporal state of life on earth. If interpreted wrongly it could lead to a fatalistic view of living and worldly possessions.

Rhino Rin 7 December 2009 at 13:05  

I think we should repeat this doa. J.Jun, this is my way of saying amiin.
By your Name O Allah, please accord divine assistance to the meek.
By your Name O Allah, please cloud up the ways of DAP the gog and magog of my country.
By your name O Allah, please plug up the conduits of DAP the gog and magog of this land.
By the Name of Allah the god of all Messiahs and Prophets may your deceptions falls on you yourself O DAP the gog and magog of this nation.
By the sovereignty of your most Excelent Names O Allah may DAP the gog and magog of this soil be crippled, disabled or paralyzed.
By the Greatest of Your Names, please stop this DAP, this scourge, these sons of gog and magog.
Dengan nama Allah (Ba Mim Alif) ... dipohonkan bantuan bagi kaum yang (mengaku) kelemahan diri.

Dengan nama Allah (Ba Mim Alif) ... gelap seluruh sudut mu hai DAP Juj Ma'juj Malaysia.

Dengan nama Allah (Ba Mim Alif) ... tersumbat seluruh rongga mu hai DAP Juj Ma'juj Malayusia.

Dengan Nama Tuhan bagi sekelian Nabi dan Rasul a.s.w.s.; perdaya dirimu hai DAP Juj Ma'juj Malaysia.

Demi keagungan Asma-u-lhusna Mu, Engkau lumpuhkanlah DAP Juj Ma'juj Malaysia.

Dengan haq Ismul 'Adzam Semuga Allah sekat segala jalan DAP Juj Ma'juj Malaysia

Suci Dalam Debu 7 December 2009 at 13:17  


Do you judge a tree by the fruit it bears?

A nice flower given to a monkey will be shredded in no time.

Is the flower or monkey that is at fault?

For me, the flower is the Quran and ...........

Every muslim claims that they are practising true Islam and yet at the same time it could be very diverse that they kill each other and at times even call it Jihad.

When they have disputes, instead of referring to the Quran, they find it easier to quote the Hadidths. One is the word of GOD, the other.....and the Quran says there will be many false hadis.

Pening kepala mencari kebenaran.

kuldeep 8 December 2009 at 20:31  

1 Malaysia encourages open debate with Mr Nazri leading the way by calling Mr Mahathir a racialist.

Meanwhile,groups of people of different persuasions are UNITED by the act of stomping on photos of perceived enemies whilst Ong and Chua embraces a peace deal after a war of their own making.

On Globalisation our Cabinet is leading by action with 12 actually abroad at the same time..including the PM and DPM.The fervor to go on overseas trips will remain unabated as we seek to established our "branding" as recommended by an American PR firm.

1Malaysia travels first class and performs admirably on the golf courses of Bandung,China and Melbourne.

And all this achieved even before Mr Jala unleashes the human potential through his Labs and Mr Amir Sham elevates our earnings to new levels with his High Earnings New Economic Model (ENEMA)

And even in the bowels of the kitchen..chefs are woking the talk with the 1Malaysia Bah Kut Teh.A halal bioengineered suckling pig next?

So..lets celebrate the successes and not delve into the mysteries of false premises and just be believers of the validity of our leadership;conclusively.

Hail Caesar.

kuldeep 11 December 2009 at 20:21  

Our GLCs are only good at "financial engineering"..merging amongst themselves,privatisations,PR exercises...all the workings of is not too taxing on their feeble minds>>and readily carried out by consultants.

When they strike out "to be more exciting" they pay beyond the odds premiums to acquire assets.In the case of Pantai..the complicated series of selling/purchasing is just masturbatory except they got f**ked and actually enjoyed it. m captivated by MOL purchase of Friendster for a sliver/fraction of Facebook valuations..thats the masterstroke..a bold gamble grounded on very sensible logic.Just a few weeks back Mr AK demonstrated another trademark move by acquiring Fetch TV.

When will we see such bold n masterful moves by our GLCs...they shld be doing that rather then Media taking NS private then will merge with Sime and then sold to tenaga who will then split into 4 companies which will then acquire Axiata and rebranded as Ataixa and will acquire Kapar which will then be injected into UEM and converted into a bank.

But feeble minds are happy looking at Sophia Loren pics whereas the brave will venture forth to Italy for the real thing.

sang kancil 13 December 2009 at 18:08  

Islam is not the casue of this. It is the casue of the MUSLIMS and in our country the socalled Malays Muslim or the UMNO Muslim.

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