, Volume 131, Issue 3-4, pp 259-280
Date: 27 Apr 2007

Economic and security consequences of supreme values

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Islamic societies have in contemporary times lagged Western societies in income, growth, and human-development indicators. The supreme values of radical Islam further de-prioritize economic achievement and impose self-deprivation on own populations. This paper investigates the reasons for economic outcomes under Islam. Contemporary illustrations are also provided of the self-deprivation predicted from pursuit of the supreme-value objectives of radical Islam. The self-deprivation is placed in a rent-seeking context.

An earlier version of this paper was prepared for the conference on Radical Islam: Challenge and Response, organized by the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies (BESA) at Bar-Ilan University, May 24–25 2006. I thank Efraim Inbar for proposing the topic of the paper and for subsequent comments. Martin Paldam graciously provided data on economic growth. Timur Kuran provided helpful comments on a preliminary draft. My colleagues Daniel Levy, Adi Schnytzer, Warren Young, and Adrian Ziderman made helpful observations, as did Liu Qijun, who in the course of spending a year at Bar-Ilan away from his home department at the Central China University of Science and Technology, read a number of drafts of the paper, made helpful comments, and pointed out relevant literature. Toke Aidt, Peter Bernholz, Tim Besley, Roger Congleton, William Easterly, Jonathan Fox, Carsten Hefeker, Pierre-Guillaume Méon, and Peter Nannestad also provided helpful comments. Bassam Tibi is thanked for his affirmations of the validity of the conclusions. Participants at the 2006 Silvaplana Workshop on Political Economy are thanked for useful reactions.