Enrolling info.: RELS:3333:0001 Economics & Religion (@ U of I)
and economic trends.
Theoretically, economics of religion became a thriving field of study that examines socio- economic theories and methods to explain the religious behavioral patterns of individuals, groups or cultures and the social consequences of such behavior. The effect of competition and government regulation for religious denominations on the quantity and quality of religious services, for instance, has been debated lively. Religious economics is a related subject sometimes conflated with the economics of religion. It uses religious principles to evaluate economic perspectives and practices.
More recently, especially after the financial crisis of 2008, scholars paid more attention to the role of religion in sustaining economic development and inspiring financial institutions to offer religion-compliant products and services. Limits on interest-based loans to the growing Muslim community in Western societies forced many banking and investment organization to create shari`a-compliant products and services. The success of Islamist governments in Turkey and Iran to create thriving middle and entrepreneurial classes brought to focus the relationship between religious belief and economics. Globalization, too, played a significant role in raising the profile of religion-inspired financial endeavors, services, and products. Scholars and public policy makers increasingly ask specific questions:
· Has Protestant ethic actually promoted the rise of capitalism?
· Should religious institutions be considered businesses?
· What are the bases for subsidizing religious institutions in some modern societies?
· Should the public continue to subsidize non-profit organizations, including religious centers and institutions?
· Do Semitic religions--Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—promote capitalism?
· What links are there between Islamic piety and capitalist success?
· Is there a “religious ethics of economics” in Islam? In other religions?
· Do inheritance rules in Islamic family law prevent the accumulation of capital, which is necessary for innovation and economic growth?
· What functions, if any, have institutions, like the waqf, zakāh, khums, and sadaqah, play in economic development and capital divestment?
· Is there an Islamic economic system that is wholly or partly distinct from other systems?