Erle Frayne D. Argonza
Islamic banking is part of the totality of ‘best practices’ that originated from Asia. Being among the strong proponents of the ‘Asian way’ as the way out of our capitalist economic malaise and crises of our times, I’d share my own notes of hallelujah to Islamic banking.
I am among those development practitioners and social scientists who propose that let’s all undertake a review of Islamic banking. This banking practice is based on zero-interest banking. The challenge is for us to reconstruct the practice to suit the current context of information society.
Usury is among the proscriptions of spiritual masters and sages of the East. It is within the context of a non-usurious finance, embedded in spiritually-guided livelihood practices, that Islamic banking emerged in Western Asia.
Zero-interest financing contributed immensely to accumulating wealth for the Asiatic polities that engaged in them in antiquity. The same wealth was utilized for social services, ambitious projects, building cities, and advancing the arts, sciences, and philosophy.
Usury is alien to Asia, even as its massive introduction to the continent brought untold miseries to the marginal folks. It had also tied up Asian economies in debt peonage to the financial cartels of the West and their local banking/financial partners.
Before the Asian economies, notably the emerging markets, will go down the drain and lose their growth gains due to usury and predatory finance, their own stakeholders should rethink their borrowed paradigms. They better review those golden Asiatic economic principles taught by spiritual masters, and make ways to re-carve their financial systems following such principles.
Asia is indubitably the driver of the global economy today. It is time for Asia to set the trends by beginning with new financial paradigm such as the one offered by Islamic banking.
[Philippines, 07 June 2010]
[See: IKONOKLAST: http://erleargonza.blogspot.com,