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A Medieval Approach to Social Sciences: The Philosophy of Ibn Khaldun

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Abstract

In the history of Islamic philosophy Ibn Khaldun deserves a place of honor. His analytical method is a perennial contribution to the analysis of social dynamics. His critique of the omnipotence of the state, his denunciation of high fiscal spending, and his exaltation of political freedom show him to be a precursor of modern political science and of classical liberalism. His imperishable fame survives today, particularly for the Muqaddima, prologue to an ambitious work on the universal history never brought to an end: the ’Ibar. In this work, Ibn Khaldun affirms repeatedly that it is not the amount of money reserve or precious metals that is the measure of a country’s prosperity but the division of labor between the inhabitants. This, in fact, generates a “virtuous circle” that augments productivity in a right distribution of roles and risks.

Giovanni Patriarca, "A Medieval Approach to Social Sciences: The Philosophy of Ibn Khaldun," Journal of Markets & Morality 13, no. 1 (Spring 2010): 175-188


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