The Modern Universal Paradigm

1. From ‘Seven Steps to Justice’ [Shakespeare & Challen] to ‘The Modern Universal Paradigm’ [Shakespeare]– a development in thinking and application:

Preface: The Modern Universal Paradigm is an understanding embracing all aspects of life. It expresses a concept of unicity and relatedness. To Muslims, the concept is Tawhid; [i] to Christians, it is Kingdom (or Kin-dom) of God; to Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs, it is Dharma; and to Jews, Shalom – the precise words do not matter too much because the underlying comprehension and insights are universal.
The concept, moreover, is not confined to religion. It greatly affects all the human studies and, such its power, is beginning to touch on aspects of the natural sciences.[ii]

It is, moreover, both ancient and modern. From the past come the unicity concept, a prohibition of riba (interest), a sense of stewardship, a need for sharing and participation, a strong ethical sense, and a demand for structural social and economic justice rather than merely palliative charity.

From the present, come insights of remarkable modernity. One such insight is that, today, money is created out of nothing. Another insight is that, in respect of newly-created money which is lent for productive or environmental capital purpose, riba/interest – as distinct from administration and any other essential cost – is not merely wrong (as it used to be in Christianity)[iii] but is not necessary. A third is that the technological capacity exists to eliminate poverty and so continuing poverty is the fault of human institutions and practices rather than any inadequacy of equipment or expertise.[iv]

Past and present then come together to:
• replace the old economics with a new economics[v] • supplant the old politics with a new politics • create a new social morality • deepen democracy • solve the major problems of the environment.
Other consequences include an end to economic colonialism, an improvement in the position of women, policy to unite differing groups, and a wide capital ownership.

In November, 2005, Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie, former President of Indonesia, addressed a conference.[vi] He asked why many countries were resource-rich, yet poor, and called for an ‘accelerated evolution’. That evolution has a number of aspects including strategic breakthroughs in the transportation industry, an increase in knowledge and skills, new technologies, and expansion of various forms of productive capital. He issued a challenge to find the financial mechanism to solve the problem. This book accepts that challenge. At the same conference, Professor Khurshid Ahmad gave a seminal lecture which asked whether a new economics was, or was not, arising and this book is also an attempt to answer the question he posed.[vii]

Throughout the world a change in consciousness is taking place. It expresses itself in various ways not least an awareness that something, on a big scale, is wrong and that things, on a big scale, need to be put right. The Modern Universal Paradigm is a manifestation of that change.

It is also a response to the needs of universities which require a teaching text. At the time of writing, four universities have made interlocking agreements to teach the new thinking but they are stymied by the lack of a document which puts all the main ideas, clearly and succinctly, in one place. Another six universities are expected to make agreements soon.

Moreover, there has been a series of international conferences on aspects of the subject – particularly on the connection between the money supply and the real economy[viii] – and the reactions have been so heartening that it is already reasonable to assume that another one hundred or more universities will wish to involve themselves in the teaching.

Because of the teaching need, particularly for young people whose first language may not be English, an effort has been made to make the book as clear as possible.

All people of faith and of good faith [ix] may take up the Modern Universal Paradigm as can the people of any society or culture. They are invited to take it up. In so doing, they may call the Paradigm their own and will not only have its benefits but will also be giving a moral, intellectual, practical, political – and, yes, environmental – lead on the way to creating a more just and peaceful world.


[i] Masudul Alam Choudhury (2003), The Islamic World-System: A Study in Polity-Market Interaction. Muhammad Iqbal Anjum (Some Reflections on the Fundamental Errors in Development Economics ‑ an Islamic Critique (Annual Journal, 2004, International Islamic University, Islamabad).

[ii] Anne Primavesi (2000), Sacred Gaia ‑ Holistic Theology and Earth System Science. (2003), Gaia’s Gift: Earth, Ourselves and God after Copernicus.

[iii] Peter Selby (1997), Grace and Mortgage.

[iv] Sidney M Greenfield, Making Another World Possible: the Torah, Louis Kelso and the Problem of Poverty, paper given at conference, Colombia University, May, 2006.

[v] Including faith economics, humanomics, justice economics and binary economics.

[vi] 6th International Conference on Islamic Economics, Banking and Finance, Jakarta, Indonesia, November, 2005.

[vii] Khurshid Ahmad (Chairman, Islamic Foundation (UK) and Member, Senate, Islamic Republic of Pakistan), Islamic Economics: A Scheme of Thoughts or a Branch of Post Capitalism – lecture given at the 6th International Conference on Islamic Economics, Banking and Finance, Jakarta, Indonesia, November, 2005.

[viii] Including:‑
International Islamic University, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, August, 2002.
The Trisakti University, Jakarta, Indonesia, January, 2004.
International Islamic University, Chittagong, Bangladesh, December, 2004.
McGill University, Montreal, Canada, September, 2005.
Asian University of Bangladesh, Dhaka, Bangladesh, December, 2005.
The Trisakti University, Jakarta, Indonesia, December, 2006.

[ix] The phrase ‘people of faith and of good faith’ covers those having religious faith and honesty of intention as well as those who may lack the religious faith but still have the honesty of intention.