Studies in Islamic Finance, Accounting and Governance series
Chapter 4: Ibn Khaldun’s theory of development: does it help explain the low performance of the present-day Muslim world?
The development and decline of economies and societies has been of interest to scholars throughout history because of their desire to know the causes of these phenomena and to enable their society to continue the rise or to at least bring the decline to an end. The rise of Development Economics in modern times is, therefore, not something unique. The difference, however, is that development economists until recently took into account primarily the economic variables that affected development. They considered the major institutional, psychological, social, historical and political forces in a given society to be exogenous and did not, therefore, analyze the impact of these on the endogenous economic variables that they take into account. It was generally assumed that a positive change in the economic variables would be sufficient to lead to development. However, other scholars have been oriented towards a multidisciplinary approach which considers economic development to be a part of overall human development. Positive change in one or a few economic variables may not necessarily make a significant difference in development unless this is also accompanied by a positive development-oriented change in other sectors of the society. Accordingly, overall human development is also not considered by them to be indicated by merely a rise in real per capita income, literacy, and life expectancy at birth, as is assumed to be the case in the UNDP’s Human Development Index.