AAA member, Daromir Rudnyckyj, responds to John Cassidy’s article “Prophet Motive“. The article, featured in The New Yorker on February 28 of this year, asked if Islam was to blame for the lagging economies of the Arab countries:
John Cassidy, documenting the debate over the relationship between Islam and capitalism, labels those who see a contradiction between the two as new Weberians (“Prophet Motive,” February 28th). Max Weber argues that the spirit of capitalism is the outcome of Protestant ethics: hard work, self-discipline, confidence in one’s own salvation, and worldly action guided by rationality.
The letter is a heavily condensed summary of my book, Spiritual Economies. The book intervenes into the long scholarly debate over the compatibility of Islam and capitalism, which was most recently revived in Timur Kuran’s new book The Long Divergence. Spiritual Economies provides a striking ethnographic counterpoint to Professor Kuran’s economism. Whereas he argues that Islam inhibited capitalist development historically, Spiritual Economies shows how Muslims today in Southeast Asia and beyond are seeking to reinterpret Islamic doctrine, history, and tradition to make their religion compatible with capitalism.
Click here for further details about Rudnyckyj’s latest book.