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Antifragility of Islamic Finance

The Risk-Sharing Alternative

Series:

Umar Rafi and Abbas Mirakhor

Antifragility of Islamic Finance: The Risk-Sharing Alternative explains how risk-sharing, as defined under Islamic finance, makes financial systems antifragile. It highlights the benefits of 100% equity-based finance over debt-based finance.

The recent financial crisis has given rise to discussions on a new approach to risk management called antifragility. This concept specifies conditions under which systems become resilient to shocks caused by Black Swans—highly unpredictable outlier events that have a major negative (or positive) consequence when they occur, with their occurrence only explained retrospectively. Per this concept, the long-term survivability of any system centers exclusively on its antifragile nature, that is, its ability to absorb and even benefit from Black Swan–type shocks. This book aims to investigate risk-sharing Islamic finance as an antifragile system.

As a by-product of the Great Recession, the problems of debt-based financial systems are starting to be highlighted by industry and by academia. The antifragile solution for avoiding future financial crises is primarily centered on moving the existing financial system towards more equity and less debt, thereby introducing skin-in-the-game into financial transactions. This book introduces a model of a 100% equity-based financial system, centered on risk sharing, as a possible alternative to the contemporary debt-based, conventional financial system, which is based on risk transfer and on risk shifting. In essence, this book attempts to provide a practical model for an antifragile financial system by evaluating the characteristics of Islamic finance under the criteria of antifragility.

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Series:

Liza Mydin, Hossein Askari and Abbas Mirakhor

Resource Rich Muslim Countries and Islamic Institutional Reforms explores the "resource curse," a condition in which a country’s abundance of natural resources is negatively linked with the country’s development and economic growth, in resource rich Muslim countries. The resource curse puzzle has been studied for over twenty years, with prior researchers looking to prove its existence and explore its causes. Recent studies have begun to indicate institutional failure as a likely cause of the curse, as wealth of resources tends to cause counterproductive behaviors such as rent-seeking, patronage and corruption. The subpar economic performance of resource rich Muslim countries in the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) could be attributed to the manifestation of a resource curse. Collectively, the member countries of the OIC contribute over 9% of the world’s total GDP with 22.8% of the world’s population. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates alone contribute about 17% of world oil production. Resource rich Muslim countries should be at the forefront of economic performance and growth, yet we see the opposite when we compare the performance of these countries to countries that are not resource rich (such as Spain, France, Hong Kong and Japan). Through an analysis of sample countries, the authors have discovered that natural resources exert a drag on the countries’ economic growth, thereby indicating the presence of the resource curse. Their research also found weaknesses in the quality of institutions as the cause of the curse. To counteract the negative effects of the resource curse in resource rich Muslim countries, the authors provide a number of Islamic institutional reforms.