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Throughout recent discussions of our current financial crisis, I have been struck at how few leaders are willing to imagine changes or alternatives to the system that has faltered. In this conversation, Mount Mercy economics professor Ayman Amer delves directly into this topic, outlining financial alternatives as they are practiced in the Islamic world. He ruminates on the shared responsibilities of government, lending bodies, communities and individuals discussing how they can they work together for mutual success. Amer uses the Islamic financial practices of no-interest banking as an example of an alternative method that could realistically be applied here in the United States.

As a scholar with an understanding of the financial structures of both the Islamic world and the United States, Amer pushes us to remember that in times of assessment and reflection it is as important to look outward as it is to reflect inward. He helps us do just this, asking how can we improve our own practices and challenging us to see examples elsewhere.


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5 Comments

Dear Professor Amer
Thanks for your eloquent thoughts about equality between lenders and borrowers. You taught me how close Catholic and Islamic doctrine are in this issue.
As a child of the 60's i promised myslef that I would fight the sytem by not paying any interest if I could avoid it. Unfortunately I could not do so, but I did pay my house in eigth years saving over $160 thousand dollars in interest. As I watch college students stressed to the maximum over the loans that they will have to pay, I am glad I did not have children, for I also saw back in the 60's that I would not want to bring children to the world we were creating.
As I look at the mess we are in, I see we cannot continue of this path to destruction. Progress in my book does not mean practicing rampant capitalism, bailing out those who create the problems, or creating more technology and more products to consume. We need to reconcile our personal mission with our collective mission and start thinking that in a global economy, one person's act affects the whole world.
In the end, the great equalizer...DEATH....shows us that we cannot take our wealth to the grave. The new fuel of our economy should not be 'interest weath' but 'social capital'.

Thanks for your thoughts,
Pat

Thanks, Kate and Amara for the posting and the inclusion of such a variety of responses. Thanks, Pat for your comment.
We have a great deal to learn from each other.
I would rather have a dialog of cultures than a clash of civilizations.
Our religious traditions are full of wisdom. But some in every traditions play on the emotions of the masses to create havoc and become leaders in the process.
Speaking of Faith is a significant step in nourishing this dialog and sharing the wisdom in our respective traditions.

Thanks to you, Ayman.
We were lucky to be able to include your point of view in our coverage.
Kate

The social contract is broken. When minimum wages do not provide a living wage, life for the lowest paid workers is untenable. When one observes the inequality of wealth, one can not but conclude that the system is immoral and must change. No longer can the slightest desire of tne wealthy trump the needs of the many.

so many fundamental values we forget in the rush!
thanks krista for such a good program