Studies in Islamic Finance, Accounting and Governance series
Chapter 3: Ethics and economics: the Islamic imperative
All human beings living on this planet wish to ensure their well-being. This is but natural and in conformity with human nature. Accordingly, there seems to be hardly any difference of opinion among all societies around the world that the ultimate purpose of development has to be the promotion of human well-being. There is, however, considerable difference of opinion in the understanding of what constitutes real well-being. Although some people tend to emphasize primarily the material contents of well-being, the general tendency seems to be that the realization of true well-being requires the satisfaction of both the material as well as non-material and spiritual needs of the human personality. While a rise in income and wealth can help satisfy the basic material needs of the human personality, it may not necessarily be able to satisfy by itself all the non-material and spiritual needs. This leads us to another related question of what these non-material and spiritual needs are that a rise in income and wealth may not necessarily be able to satisfy. This is where ethics and economics interact with each other meaningfully. While ethics specifics the goals and values as well as the non-material needs the satisfaction of which is necessary to ensure the true well-being of all, economics helps analyze the ways through which these goals may be realized within the framework of available resources and agreed values.
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