chapter  8
16 Pages

Capitalism in Muslim Countries

Capitalism is a universal phenomenon and has existed within all the various large cultural spheres, including the Occident and Asia, as well as within the various historical periods: Antiquity, the Middle Ages, the colonial period and the age of globalisation. As the economic documents indicate, one finds within all the civilisations of the world one form of capitalism or another (Weber, 1978, 1981, 1993, 1998, 1996: 113). Within all periods, and in all places, the search for profit has structured both the economy and societies. On this point, there is no difference between Marx and Weber, Schumpeter, Braudel and Wallerstein, who all accepted the existence of capitalism since the ancient times. All acknowledge also that modern capitalism, defined by Marx as the separation between the producers and the means of production or by Braudel and Wallerstein as the world economy, emerged after the Reformation and the Renaissance. Some even consider that Islam and even Asia practised capitalism before the Western world (Abu Lughod, 1989; Chaudhuri, 1991; Inalcik, 1973).