In the following article, Professor S. M. Ghazanfar, a specialist in the history of economic thought in the Islamic civilisation, explores the evidence concerning the roots of historical "capitalism" as it evolved in the early Islamic world. After delineating the geographical extent of capitalistic, commercial/business ventures in the early Islamic world, he discusses the major centres of Islamic commerce, then focuses on the nature and content of the economic activities undertaken by the early Muslim entrepreneurs, and describes the development of financial institutions. Finally, the article concludes with the argument that, notwithstanding the relatively recent origin of the nomenclature, the capitalistic system indeed was the prevailing mode of economic activities in the early Islamic civilization.
Capitalist Traditions in Early Arab-Islamic Civilization
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Figure 1. The Tabula Rogeriana, drawn by al-Idrisi for Roger II of Sicily in 1154, one of the most advanced ancient world maps. Modern consolidation, created from the 70 double-page spreads of the original atlas. (Source)
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