April 26, 2019 Quran Capitalism and Inequality - Part 1

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Has world poverty gotten worse or better in the last 30 years?

(less than a $1/day adjusted to inflation in 1970 to $1.90/day)

  • From 1990 to today there has been ~65% reduction in extreme poverty (from 36% of world population to <10% today)
  • From 1970 to today 80% reduction in extreme poverty

If you ask economists what was the cause of poverty decline their answer is unanimously contingent on these five points:

  1. Rule of Law
  2. Property Rights
  3. Free Trade
  4. Globalization

“Commerce takes more people out of poverty than aid - aid is just a stop gap” – Bono Georgetown University

“Free markets have taken more people out of poverty than any system in history they have lifted billions out of poverty” – Barak Obama

If you apply Quranic principles you will reap the benefits 

Like if someone fasts, eats in moderation, doesn’t drink alcohol they will be more healthy than someone who does (irrespective if they believe or not) 

#1 Rule of Law

[25:1] Most blessed is the One who revealed the Statute Book to His servant, so he can serve as a warner to the whole world.

Democracy vs. Republic

Majority Rule vs No One Above the Law

Catch a person accuse them of robbing a bank

35 vote to hang the person the one guys votes not to be hanged

Democracy the person will be hanged

Republic the question is are the people allowed to hang someone for robbing a bank? What due process is the accused guaranteed? How should the trial and verdict be handed out?


[5:48] Then we revealed to you this scripture, truthfully, confirming previous scriptures, and superseding them. You shall rule among them in accordance with GOD's revelations, and do not follow their wishes if they differ from the truth that came to you.

In a republic, no one is above the law

[3:161] Even the prophet cannot take more of the spoils of war than he is entitled to. Anyone who takes more than his rightful share will have to account for it on the Day of Resurrection. That is when each soul is paid for whatever it earned, without the least injustice.

Obviously, people have different interpretations of laws and the Quran is no different? So how can we institute God’s laws despite our own shortcomings as individuals?

Let’s say you want to split a bowl of ice cream? What is the fairest most simple way to do this?

I cut you choose

How do we apply God’s law? If the table were turn would  we feel injustice?

[5:8] O you who believe, you shall be absolutely equitable, and observe GOD, when you serve as witnesses. Do not be provoked by your conflicts with some people into committing injustice. You shall be absolutely equitable, for it is more righteous. You shall observe GOD. GOD is fully Cognizant of everything you do.

[4:135] O you who believe, you shall be absolutely equitable, and observe GOD, when you serve as witnesses, even against yourselves, or your parents, or your relatives. Whether the accused is rich or poor, GOD takes care of both. Therefore, do not be biased by your personal wishes. If you deviate or disregard (this commandment), then GOD is fully Cognizant of everything you do.

You Shall Keep Your Word

[16:91] You shall fulfill your covenant with GOD when you make such a covenant. You shall not violate the oaths after swearing (by God) to carry them out, for you have made GOD a guarantor for you. GOD knows everything you do. [16:92] Do not be like the knitter who unravels her strong knitting into piles of flimsy yarn. This is your example if you abuse the oaths to take advantage of one another. Whether one group is larger than the other, GOD thus puts you to the test. He will surely show you on the Day of Resurrection everything you had disputed. [16:93] Had GOD willed, He could have made you one congregation. But He sends astray whoever chooses to go astray, and He guides whoever wishes to be guided.* You will surely be asked about everything you have done.

Violating Your Oath: A Serious Offense

[16:94] Do not abuse the oaths among you, lest you slide back after having a strong foothold, then you incur misery. Such is the consequence of repelling from the path of GOD (by setting a bad example); you incur a terrible retribution. [16:95] Do not sell your oaths before GOD short. What GOD possesses is far better for you, if you only knew. [16:96] What you possess runs out, but what GOD possesses lasts forever. We will surely reward those who steadfastly persevere; we will recompense them for their righteous works.

[5:89] GOD does not hold you responsible for the mere utterance of oaths; He holds you responsible for your actual intentions. If you violate an oath, you shall atone by feeding ten poor people from the same food you offer to your own family, or clothing them, or by freeing a slave. If you cannot afford this, then you shall fast three days. This is the atonement for violating the oaths that you swore to keep. You shall fulfill your oaths. GOD thus explains His revelations to you, that you may be appreciative.

#2 Property Rights

Story of building wells in Africa

Economist Hernando de Soto

Extra legal economy / black market

Planet Money - February 7, 2018 - The Secret Document That Transformed China


[4:2] You shall hand over to the orphans their rightful properties. Do not substitute the bad for the good, and do not consume their properties by combining them with yours. This would be a gross injustice.

[2:188] You shall not take each others' money illicitly, nor shall you bribe the officials to deprive others of some of their rights illicitly, while you know.


Jack Abramoff


Peanut subsidies lobbyist quote - “There are three people in the world who understand peanut subsidies and it is my job to keep it that way.”

Return on lobbying is 22,000%


#3 Free Trade

[4:29] O you who believe, do not consume each others' properties illicitly— only mutually acceptable transactions are permitted.


Voluntary exchange

#4 Globalization

Whenever a society cuts itself off from trading with other people they suffer economically from it

China in the 15th century used to have the strongest navy and was the strongest nation in the world, then it outlawed ships and trade during the Ming dynasty

One of the largest most populated and advanced societies in the world back to the dark ages

China in the 15th century had the largest naval fleet not till the 20th century in WWI

After a period of maritime explorations (see Zheng He) in the early 15th century, the Ming Dynasty started shutting the Middle Kingdom out of the rest of the world. This of course continued with the Qing, and the empire remained largely isolated until the 19th century, because of foreign "initiative." However, just when Spain and Portugal started flourishing with an economy based on trade, the Chinese chose to close their doors to the world.



Corresponds with the building of the great wall of China to keep out the mongols that stretched in sections that total six thousand miles. Wanted to preserve Chinese culture and not be invaded by foreign influence

Hong Kong

[49:13] O people, we created you from the same male and female, and rendered you distinct peoples and tribes, that you may recognize one another. The best among you in the sight of GOD is the most righteous. GOD is Omniscient, Cognizant.

[34:15] Sheba's homeland used to be a marvel, with two gardens on the right and the left. Eat from your Lord's provisions, and be appreciative of Him—good land, and a forgiving Lord. [34:16] They turned away and, consequently, we poured upon them a disastrous flood, and we substituted their two gardens into two gardens of bad tasting fruits, thorny plants, and a skimpy harvest. [34:17] We thus requited them for their disbelief. Do we not requite only the disbelievers? [34:18] We placed between them and the communities that we blessed other oases, and we secured the journey between them: "Travel therein days and nights in complete security." [34:19] But they (turned unappreciative and) challenged: "Our Lord, we do not care if You increase the distance of our journeys (without any stations)." They thus wronged their own souls. Consequently, we made them history, and scattered them into small communities throughout the land. This should provide lessons for those who are steadfast, appreciative.

We take for granted that we can ship merchandise almost anywhere in the world, that our shipping routes are secure and there is for the most part stability in the world.

US for all the bad rep they get for their military spending are spending billions each year to protect the trade routes for billions of people throughout the world

Still plenty of opportunities to give to charity

  1. 650 million people, or ~10% percent of the population, live in extreme poverty with less than $1.90 per day. 
  2. 2.1 billion people live on less than $3.10 per day. 
  3. 328 million children are living in extreme poverty. 
  4. At least 17 million children suffer from severe acute undernutrition around the world. Severe acute malnutrition is the direct cause of death for 1 million children every year. 
  5. Every single day, 1,000 children under 5 die from illnesses like diarrhea, dysentery, and cholera caused by contaminated water and inadequate sanitation.