Why economics is a dismal science

Economists look into the limited resources of the world and when they see all these hungry population need to be fed, they get depressed. How many times have you seen headlines in the news that the economist Mr. xyz had made a forecast that so and so resource will deplete within the next 50 years or so. No wonder then that economy is called the “dismal science”.

The problem economists try to handle is not a science subject, rather a quasi-science. You cannot run experiments in a lab to relate income and well-being of a community to some other parameters, same as a physicist would run an experiment to find relationship between time and distance for example. Constraint optimization of a human society is very hard, and hence there need to be a All-Knowing, All-Powerful and All-Merciful God to enter the scene and turn the dismal outlook of the economist to much more joy and fun.

Human beings are stingy by nature, and hence their outlook must be pessimistic. To the contrary, Allah is generous and His treasury is not scarce. How beautifully Allah described modern economic forecast in Quran, chapter 17 (al-Isra’a) verse 100:

“If you (o mankind) possessed the depositories of the mercy of my Lord, then you would withhold out of fear of spending.” And ever has man been stingy

Often the problem lies in attempting to craft solutions in a non-holistic material manner. It is almost impossible to craft solutions for social science problems through materialistic approach keeping spiritual aspects aside. Margin of errors would go tremendously high because of so many hidden parameters that can not be explained and captured given materialistic world view.

If you read the Quran, many verses will pop into your face that relates the well-being and prosperity of a society on things that never exists in the equations of modern economy.

Have you ever read in any economics book a relationship between righteousness and God-fearing of a society to the macro-economic growth of that society? I bet no publisher would accept to print a book that claims this.

Here I will only cite three locations from the Quran that clearly relates the socio-economic condition of individuals and societies to being dutiful to Allah.

Chapter 7 (al-Araf) verse 96 talks about opening the door of blessings from the heaven and earth.

And if only the people of the cities had believed and feared Allah , We would have opened upon them blessings from the heaven and the earth

Chapter 71 (Noah) verses 10–12. Here Noah is asking his people to seek forgiveness, because if they do so, then Allah will:

.. send [rain from] the sky upon you in [continuing] showers. And give you increase in wealth and children and provide for you gardens and provide for you rivers.

Chapter 65 (at-Talaq), verses 2 and 3.

And whoever fears Allah — He will make for him a way out, And will provide for him from where he does not expect.

In sum, my appeal to the world is to make friend with the Quran, because if we do so, the Quran has the power to turn the dismal view of economist to much optimistic view of our future.

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We have certainly sent down to you a Book in which is your mention. Then will you not reason? [Quran 21:10]

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We have certainly sent down to you a Book in which is your mention. Then will you not reason? [Quran 21:10]