Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Economic and Financial Crises in Fifteenth-Century Egypt: Lessons From the History

Islahi, Abdul Azim (2011): Economic and Financial Crises in Fifteenth-Century Egypt: Lessons From the History. Published in: Islamic Economic Studies , Vol. 21, No. 2 (November 2013): pp. 71-92.

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The present paper attempts to study the economic and financial crises of 15th century Egypt, which was ruled by Mamluk dynasty. Two social thinkers of the time – al-Maqrizi at the beginning of the century and al-Asadi at the middle – addressed the situation. To the former, deterioration of Egypt’s monetary system was the single most important cause of its economic and financial difficulties. As a panacea, he prescribed a return to gold and silver standard and restricting copper coinage to petty transactions. The latter divided the factors responsible for economic and financial crises into socio-economic factor and monetary factor. He advocated for an overall reform and strict management of the whole economy. The main financial problem, in his opinion, was debasement of currency leading to unrestricted supply of money, not the issue of copper coins. The paper concludes with an appraisal of their diagnosis of the problem, the solution suggested by them and the lessons learned from them.

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