Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Market and pricing mechanism in pre-classical literature

Islahi, Abdul Azim (1991): Market and pricing mechanism in pre-classical literature.

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Western literature on the history of economic thought seldom pays attention to the contribution of scholars from the other regions on different economic issues, as if they have nothing to offer on the subject. The same happened when Schumpeter remarked "as regards the theory of the mechanism of pricing, there is very little to report before the middle of the eighteenth century". The fact is that considerable ideas on market and pricing mechanism existed long before this period. The paper analyzes the concept of market and pricing mechanism in pre-classical period as developed by the scholars of the West Asian region. In this connection the following thinkers have been chosen to discuss their ideas: Abu Yusuf (731-798 AD) , Abu Hamid al-Ghazali (l058-1111 AD), Ibn Taimiyah (1263-1328 AD), and Ibn Khaldun (1332-1404 AD). It also compares their ideas with those of Western writers of that period. Views of the writers cited in this paper show that they had a clear notion of the working of the market. They were trying to grapple with other related issues also. This warrants reconsideration of Schumpeter's statement about the mechanism of pricing before the middle of the eighteenth century. Especially, the contribution of the East, Middle East, Far East and other regions to economic thought has to be rehabilitated in the science of economics for the sake of doctrinal continuity as well as objectivity.

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