Discussion Group

Critiques of Conventional Economics

Critiques of Neoclassical Economics: My Homepage website has overlapping material organized differently.
There are many different fronts on which critiques can be made. There are negative and positive aspects -- On the one hand a critique says that existing theories on the issue are wrong (negative). At the same time, we have the responsibility to provide an alternative; especially an Islamic alternative. This is what I am hoping to accomplish in the research projects being outlined. However, alternatives may not be immediately obvious, and a destructive activity of clearing the ground may be needed first, before the job of rebuiliding can be undertaken.

An Islamic Critique of Neoclassical Economics: This gives a list of areas where the teachings of Islam are diametrically opposed to neoclassical ones. Again each such area provides us a research topic.

Capitalism in Crisis: Causes & Consequences: This shows the root cause of the current crisis in capitalism is the promotion of Greed.

Naomi Klein's book The Shock Doctrine: Rise of Disaster Capitalism, is the best historical analysis of how capitalism has functioned in the late twentieth century.It can be viewed as a continuation of the analysis of Karl Polanyi in The Great Transformation (summary and review) which document the rise of the Self-Regulating Market
a central myth of capitalism


Heterodox Economics: There is a large number of alternative schools of thought to conventional. These are lumped together under the title Heterodox, even though many have nothing in common with each other.

Value-Laden Economics: Economics Claims to be Value Free, but is actually full of values. The values embedded in neoclassical theories are pretty ugly, and so need to be exposed and contrasted with Islamic values. see also the Positive/Normative Distinction, in Open Research Projects.

Keynes also presented a critique of capitalism as an inherently unstable system. His true message has been forgotten, and his writings re-interpreted. Skidelsey gives an interesting account.


Growth is Harmful: One of the central ideas of economists is to pursue growth as a means of solving the central problem of economics: "scarcity". There are many lines of research which lead to the conclusion that pursuing growth of income/wealth does not help, or else is actually harmful. The Islamic preference for simple lifestyles is a useful antidote to conventional emphasis on ever increasing standard-of-living.  

  • Happiness research shows that money does not buy happiness and therefore is not worth pursuing. 
  • No Trickle Down Effect, shows that growth does not lead to elimination of poverty