A paper economy of faith without faith in paper: A reflection on Islamic institutional history
This article contributes to the literature on Islamic institutional history by examining how the discounting of documents in Islamic legal practice constrained the organization of early modern Muslim trade. It is argued that the reliance on literacy, on the one hand, and an Islamic legal framework, on the other, gave early modern Muslim traders a comparative advantage in economic organization, but the lack of faith in paper as documentary evidence in Islamic law posed fundamental constraints to the development of Muslim economies.
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