*The Long Divergence*

The author is Timur Kuran and the subtitle is How Islamic Law Held Back the Middle East.  My previous and longer discussion of Timur is here.  Here is a short excerpt from the book: 

…several institutions…blocked evolutionary paths in the direction of modern banking: the Islamic law of commercial partnerships, the Islamic inheritance system, the waqf system, and the individualism of Islamic law.  All were introduced earlier as causes of the region's other handicaps.  Like the region's previously discussed symptoms of underdevelopment, delayed financial modernization was an unintended consequence of institutional choices that served laudable objectves.

This book avoids and indeed remedies two major problems often found elsewhere.  First, many books on Islam are weak on law and economics or simply ignore the topic altogether.  Second, many books on "the New Institutional Economics" give generalities and taxonomy, rather than concrete, historically well-founded analysis.


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