Economic Prosperity: A Step of Faith, Satan, the great motivator

November 17, 2009 6:29am CST
Personally i think that economic prosperity leads to tolerant nation or community. Religious liberty is a hot topic today. I provide the abstract from two articles and link to them. In a sense, religion and economics long have been intertwined. There are more verses on money and finance in the Bible than there are verses on prayer. The New Testament stakes out clear if seemingly contradictory positions: on the one hand is the admonition that a rich person has little chance of getting into heaven; on the other is the parable of the talents, which praises the servant who got the biggest return on his money. Islam, to this day, outlaws the charging of interest; Buddhism instructs its followers to abjure desire for material goods. On a larger scale, religious denominations affect economics by creating bonds of trust and shared commitment among small groups, both necessary qualities for lending and trade. In the Middle Ages, studies show, monk-run estates outperformed those that used serfs, thanks to religiously inspired cooperation and frugality. The Quakers of 18th-century Britain, renowned for their scrupulous honesty, came to dominate British finance. Ultra-orthodox Jews similarly dominate New York’s diamond trade because of levels of trust based on religion. Modern religious kibbutzim on average outperform their secular rivals, in part because of trust built through engaging in communal religious rituals. Several years ago a group of Arab intellectuals came together to study the economic malaise—fueled by high unemployment, massive illiteracy, and anemic GDPs—that grips much of the Muslim and Arab world. Their 2002 study, “The Arab Human Development Report: Creating Opportunities for Future Generations,” remains one of the most sober self-assessments of what has gone wrong with Arab economies and why. The report’s authors lament the “bridled minds” and “shackled potential” of nations which deny their citizens basic civil liberties.
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