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The Decline Of Arab Capitalism In Southeast Asia

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Chapter Summary

This chapter presents a historical analysis of Arab capitalism in Southeast Asia from the early nineteenth century through to the middle of the twentieth century. It attempts to trace the critical phases of this capitalist evolution, determining their specific role in trade, finance, real estate development, manufacturing and shipping. The chapter shows that the economic context within which Arab business operated in Southeast Asia turned against it. It pursues seven main lines of argument. Firstly, it tests Timur Kurans hypothesis that the crisis in Arab capitalist development was a result of serious constraints within Islam, in particular the Islamic laws on inheritance, wealth redistribution through zakat (alsm), and the creation of charitable endowments. The Arab migration to Southeast Asia since the early nineteenth century was principally from Hadhramaut. One activity that provided a crucial source of capital was the Ḥaj.

Keywords: Ḥaj business; Arab capitalism; endowment system; Islamic laws; Southeast Asia; Timur Kuran



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