Towards The Maruf Economics
“The Fundemantal Breakdowns of Conventional Economy”
The approach of balancing scarce resources with unlimited human needs in the classically accepted definition of economy is the sacrifice of the needs and benefits of the society to the wishes and desires of the individual. Putting the wishes and desires of the individual to the fore at all costs and trying to be satisfied with “limited” resources give rise to an understanding that will not allow benevolence, desirable, and pleasant things to live in society. Thus, the logic of how the economy works is far from producing “the maruf (which means benevolence, desirable and pleasant) for a society.” Competition is inherent in the structure of the capitalist system. This understanding, which is a necessity of competition, can wipe out the weak from the market, thus allowing the strong ones to live; is not an understanding that can produce equality and balance.
The 2008 Global Financial Crisis, one of the clearest manifestations of the failure of the international financial system that we have recently witnessed, is a crisis of greed and selfishness that spreads across the world through the Wall-Street which is established on an individualistic, self-interested, immoral understanding. The Wall Street order, where the savings and accumulation of millions of people were destroyed for the sake of maximizing the individual interests of a small minority, caused damage to people’s moral, spiritual and human emotions such as trust, hope and solidarity. While CEOs, managers and owners of major financial companies and organizations such as Lehman Brothers, AIG and CitiGroup, had earned billions of dollars in revenue and income; disposal of millions of people’s savings, be convicted to unemployment, insecurity and absolute poverty, being forced to constantly work for the account of large capitalists under the burden of debt is a manifestation of a corrupt worldview.
“Labor-Capital Conflict in Capitalism”
Capitalism is based on historically inherited class, ethnicity and gender inequalities. As a corrupt system, capitalism has a structure that will sustain social inequalities and deepen its corruption. The labor and the capital, as the main production factors in capitalism, do not represent both sides of an equality of the same level. It is not the free market that produces inequality in capitalism, but the free market is a result. The fundamental reason and mechanism for deepening inequality is not market, but capital. The capital is the money or realizable monetary value of a secured property. Unlike labor, capital can be used as collateral and the “credit power” obtained allows for more wealth. However, labor does not have such an opportunity. Labor cannot be separated and ripped off from the work done. Therefore, this asymmetrical relationship between labor and capital is the greatest driving force of inequality.
Within the capitalist system, those who are strong increase their power even more through the domination of capital, while those who are weak do not have any guarantee or assurance. This competitive and destructive approach, which is inherent to the nature of the capitalist system, is almost a grinding mechanism by which large organizations can swallow small ones. This “creative destruction” process, which led to the formation of huge scale financial institutions, banks, and multinational companies, is that the strong actors dominates the market, and a continuous destruction and recreation cycle affects the stability and continuity, generates uncertainties about the future, and cause to be wasted resources which is already “limited” by definition in this process of re-destruction and creation. So, it creates a continuous cycle of rising and falling.
“Unsustainable problems inherent to the system”
We see these negative and destructive impacts in the structure, understanding, definition, policy and institutions of the current economic system. For instance, the issues faced by humanity such as global warming and climate change are both the problems produced by the current system and all these are the issues that cannot be solved in a “permanent” and “sustainable” way within the same understanding. This is due to the understanding and patterns of consumption that individuals have (or are imposed as individuals have). In the capitalist system, goods and services offered to consumers or customers in abundance and relatively cheap are the result of mass production. The mass production companies and firms, on the other hand, guarantee the consumption of their goods and services through a marketing method that will constantly whip up people’s “unlimited wishes” through advertisements and various other propaganda tools. The “insatiability” state of these desires and pleasures can only restrain itself with an endless understanding of consumption. Likewise, these problems are issues that cannot be ultimately resolved with various minor adjustments and solutions within the system. Some approaches towards to patch system failures, such as “universal basic income,” focus only on the short-term solution. However, the relation between property and capital, which is inherent to the structure of the system, has the potential to create the same inequal atmosphere and structure in the long run. Therefore, it is obvious that the approach and paradigm change to overcome similar systemic problems, is an imperative, not an option.
“Firms and markets are surrounded by moral boundaries and orientations”
Firms and markets are inevitably filled with moral concerns and judgments. Because these are not formed spontaneously or not self-proclaimed, they are all human products and structures, surrounded by historical experiences. If that “human” and “morality” factor is ignored and removed from the equation, the most basic unit of the functioning of an economy will be damaged. The economy is for human. The externalization of human emotions and features will mean denial of this ancient truth as old as human history. The internalization of the moral motivation, which we define here on a more extensive scale as “recognition of maruf”, will generate a broad research and implementation agenda for economists, theorists, policy makers and practitioners.
It is not possible to deny the multi-faceted personality traits of individuals. While some of the new economic approaches accept this fact, the doctrine dominated by the neoclassical understanding assumes that the most dominant and primary personality trait in the market conditions is the motivation of self-interest. This understanding, which ignores our altruistic and other moral orientations from the moment we enter the world of commerce and business, suggests, for example, that maximization of self-interest can be applied to all levels of social relationships and interactions.
“Understanding the effective Maruf approach as a dynamic and surrounding process”
Humanity have moral judgments, and moral judgments are never not purely descriptive. The morality includes a call to action or avoidance of action. While morality concerns the individual level to a certain extent, “Maruf” encompasses both the individual and the social level. In other words, the “Maruf” at the social level has an identity to include the morality. Accordingly, the “Maruf” is ultimate state; it is not affected by any desire, choice or policy of the person or anyone else. However, this definitiveness and certainty does not give “Maruf” a static character. Maruf is a dynamic process and understanding that constantly updates itself. Continuous search for the good, the truth and the beauty at the social level and creating behaviors that will make it dominant will prevent the Maruf from being trapped in stasis. The fact that the Maruf has an inclusive and self-generating content allows social relations to be addressed and interpreted through “Maruf”.
“The need for a Maruf economic understanding”
Therefore, when we consider the economics with the Maruf understanding; economics will require to produce an approach that does what is good and beneficial for each individual of society, prioritizing equity and integrity. It is aimed to establish an economic order in the “Maruf” understanding that protects everyone’s right, without discriminate strong or weakness, and regards social benefit. The economy surrounded with a Maruf understanding has a structure which will not produce problems—such as global warming, climate change, injustice of income and wealth, the gap between rich and poor, irresponsible consumption of natural resources, excessive consumption, waste of resources, and exploitation of labor and people—and make constructive and sustainable solutions for a better way of living.
Finally, in accordance with the motto “emri bi’l-maruf nehyi ani’l-münker”, the establishment of institutions and policies that will spread good and reduce evil in society—but not limited to these –is the basis of the understanding of “Maruf Economics” which will popularize and sustain Maruf at all social and economic relation levels.