"Economics of Ibn Khaldun Revisited", HISTORY OF POLITICAL
ECONOMY, VOL. 27, NO. 2:387-404 (1995)
Abdol S. Soofi, Department of Economics, University of Wisconsin.
A close look at the writings of the Middle Eastern and North African scholars
who lived in the Middle Ages (roughly between 476 - 1500) reveals an immense
body of theoretical knowledge pertaining to the humanities, as well as the
behavioral and social sciences. Of this tradition, Abdel Rahman Ibn Khaldun of
Tunis (1332-1406), who was a diplomat, jurist, historian, politician,
sociologist, and economist, is the most prominent figure. Unlike the writings
of his predecessors and contemporaries, his writings on economic topics
transcend the tradition of making disjointed remarks on and isolated references
to important questions of political economy.
This article places Khaldun's economics in the context of the intellectual
history of economics by taking an inventory of his knowledge of economic theory.
The work specifically deals with Ibn Khaldun's writings regarding theories of
value, distribution, growth and development, money, prices, public finance,
business cycles, inflation, rent, and benefits of trade. One of the most
prominent of Khaldun's contributions to economics is his theory of income,
expenditure, and multiplier which establishes Khaldun as a precursor to
T. R. Malthus, R. Khan, and J. M. Keynes.