Wise Rich Muslims, Giving is the beginning of prospering (Rajin sedekah pangkal kaya)

BY : NABEELA PURNAJAYA

A critique on free market incapitalism

The world knows when they have security of over 3 things; shelter, money, and food, then everything else is secondary. A state knows when they can provide food security for its people, then its nation will sit nice and tight being wealthy.

Much smaller scope, families know when they can guarantee their family members money to buy lunch the next day, then everyone can go to sleep soundly.

Although what happens when the latter is jammed by people who thinks keeping money safe in their banks and even homes will run the traffic of eradicating poverty much smoother?

We are trapped by the majority of people who thinks when the interests rate go up, we’d better put our money in so in time it will blosom into more money. When logically, only plants bloom into another seedlings and make more of its kind. Not money made of paper and all at once turn into more over time. It means there has to be science of ‘cheat’ behind it that can duplicate money in a short amount of time. There has to be some kind of reaction behind the scene. In other words, its what we usually call as interests. In Islam, this magic behind the scene is prohibited.

Interests is an additional payment that must be given to the original amount we owed to the lender because of the usage of their capital and time. A cost of money either being put in the bank or being given for loan.

Neo-Liberalism

We want to look at let say poverty through Neo-Liberalism perspectives. Other actors playing beside states are what they believe as non-state actors, which are also called institutions. To get around with peace and cooperation in combatting global issues are through institutions. And because of this, issues of low politics work best in their assumptions[1].

With Institutions they can go more comprehensive in their approach to certain issues, therefore soothing down cooperations amongst nations.

One manifestation of USA’s neo-liberalist ideology was the creation of Bretton Woods System, IMF, and World Bank when was it established?The lure was to achieve peace and stability though global market capitalism was the doctrine they were promoting.

The Bretton Woods system failed in 1971 because USA could not longer provide the conversion. The establishment of IMF and World Bank in 1944 also went through some developments. In 1989 the big boys in Washington-World Bank, IMF, and US treasury- said the key to development was deregulation and fiscal discipline. For that they got together The Washington Consensus-Stabilize, Privatize, Liberalize, Deregulate, and Fiscal Discipline. Which was applied to poor countries that turned out to be too big for the actual size. Therefore it did damage more than brought benefit. They forced structural economic adjustments that just couldn’t fit well with other developing nations.

Free Market in Capitalism

Free market in capitalism as we all know, assumes the leading actors are those who are business owners, private sector owners, and individuals themselves-those who have capital. Why? It is because these actors are the ones who will eventually make decisions to the maximum benefit. Acting without trade restrictions, these people will enable nations to make use of their comparative advantage a means to gain more benefits[2].

One of the prominent economist was Milton Friedman. Besides Adam Smith, he was one who was determined to deregulate government policies. To an extent where he advocated the legalization of marijuana and prostitutions because of what he saw these restrictions discouraged competition[3].

Adam Smith introduced the concept of free market where wealth will distribute naturally through the invisible hand of market price because of the natural dynamics of transactions between everyone.But that natural result is based on the saying ‘The Butcher doesn’t sell meat because you need to put food on your table; he sells meat because he needs to put food on his table’[4].

Critique

Talk about human security and its relations with food security, there has to be a connection in how we manage our economics.

Free markets have ‘scarcity’ as their main focus problem of economy. Where the more people have capital gain, the more they can spend to exploit the resource. Where as, the main focus in Islamic Economy System is ‘distribution’[5]. Because when people are running out of rice, all we have to do is raise the production. But the thing is, not everyone gets to buy or recieves rice, not even a plate on the table (Tirono, 2017, pg 254).

Personal greed can actually be a factor of  economic gaps until today, especially to the people who own almost all the capital. The wealth will only seep through the same layer over and over again. The rich will remain rich, and the poor stay where they are.

The business owners, private sector owners, and individuals themselves who are in control of the market will only enjoy the wealth meanwhile the other society could only be the consumer and at times, could not afford it. The worst is when the labours could not even buy the goods they produce with their own hands.

The concept ofThe Washington Consensus-particulary to keep the supply money in check, and governments at times play the curs also raise the interest rate so everyone is encouraged to save in banks- is to some extent a promotion to save the bank’s guts from failing.

 Saving money in banks seem very tempting for some free market capitalism enthusiasts. But what we ask ourselves. Does keeping money in the bank produce more money rather then spending it? I am on the extreme who disagrees. But then another question occurs, how should we spend our money but produce more money?

They key to ending poverty is to create global network of connections that reach from impoverished communities to the very centers of the world[6].

The end of poverty will require a global network of cooperation among people whom have never met and whom do not necessarily trust each other[7].

We are talking about somewhat a potential breakthrough that can help reach out to people near or far from us. The answer already lies since 1400 years ago when the revelation of Islam came down to The Beloved Prophet SAW.

Islam is not a state therefore there is no boundaries to where it can go. It has a concept of an obligatory giving that works in anywhere you live. It is called Zakat. Islam put in obligatory so it can not always rely on the empathy of people whenever they feel like giving to the needy.

It is bound by the obligatory of every earning men and women to share 2,5% of their money to the 8 categories of people. Fakir (Underprivileged -Someone who doesn’t have any property), Miskin (Poor), Riqab (Slave), Gharim (Someone who has heavy debt), Mualaf (Someone who has just converted to Islam), Fisabilillah (Fighters of Allah), IbnuSabil (Someone who is in travel), Amil Zakat (Committee of Zakat Distribution)[8].

In Islam, we have Sedekah- like giving tips- we give when we feel like it, only we are promised triplets of reward back as the main encouragement for the believers.

Wakaf is also effective to decrease poverty because they go by the concept of individuals or groups gathering a collective accumulation of wealth in the form of logistics needed.

Give, Give, and Give

At the time of Umar bin Abdul Aziz’s reign almost all houses turned down the acception of zakat. The distribution of wealth through the mechanisms of zakat, infaq, sodaqoh, and also wakaf was an effective solution to eradicate poverty[9]. Was and is still the right solution I believe till today.

With professional management, little by little it can solve poverty problems within todays modern world.

            We should imagine, what it be if everyone who have decent lives, are diligent in paying their zakat, or give sadaqah and such. Many people can start their own income by doing little selling here and there. More jobs can be produced, and wealth are then distributed at least much more evenly.

Global organization of food provisions had increased through out the 21st century. And these actors are the ones playing the major role. Bringing the local system into a global system of food production is what these organization started from. This is the kind of approach we try to promote with ZIS (Zakat, Infaq, Sedekah) and Wakaf[10].


REFERENCE

1. Baylis, John, Steve Smith, and Patricia Owens. 2011. The Globalization of World Politics. New York: Oxford University Press Pg 123

2. Dompet Dhuafa.2012. ‘Inilah 8 Golongan yang BerhakMenerima Zakat’. Jakarta Selatan

3. Marron, Donald. 2010. 30-Second Economics. United Kingdom: Ivy Press

4. Shonhaji, Ahmad. 2014. ‘Sejarah Kegemilangan Zakat’ diakses dari: https://zakat.or.id/sejarah-kegemilangan-zakat/ diaksestanggal 1 April 2019

5. Tirono, Dwi Condro. 2017. Falsafah Ekonomi Islam. Yogyakarta: Irtikaz. pg 242


[1]John Baylis, Steve Smith, and Patricia Owens. 2011. The Globalization of World Politics.New York: Oxford University Press Pg 123

[2]Donald Marron. 2010. 30-Second Economics. United Kingdom: Ivy Press Limited. Pg 28

[3]ibid pg. 33

[4]ibid. pg 137

[5]Dwi Condro Tirono. 2017. Falsafah Ekonomi Islam. Yogyakarta: Irtikaz. pg 242

[6]Jeffrey D. Sachs. 2005. The End of Poverty.USA: Penguin Books. pg 242

[7]Ibid. pg 226

[8]Dompet Dhuafa.2012. ‘Inilah 8 Golongan yang BerhakMenerima Zakat’. Jakarta Selatan

[9]Ahmad Shonhaji. 2014. ‘Sejarah Kegemilangan Zakat’ diakses dari: https://zakat.or.id/sejarah-kegemilangan-zakat/ diakses tanggal1  april 2019

[10]ibid. pg 473

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