A Comparison of Islamic Economics and the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy: Implications for Sustainable Development in Muslim Communities

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This article examines the concepts and theories of Islamic economics. In order to understand it thoroughly, we compare with conventional economics and the sufficiency economy philosophy. In Islam, an individual’s utility function consists of two parts, utility in the present life and in the afterlife. His behaviour in the former determines the rewards (or punishment) in the later. Hence, his resources are allocated towards the consumption of goods and services, and for religious expenditures such as Zakat payment. In addition, the set of choices are a subset to a conventional individual as he can only consume what is Halal, including investing in interest-free channels. Ethical and moral values play a role in determining economic behaviour as individuals are connected through the concept of brotherhood. Though different in certain details, the core principles of the sufficiency economy philosophy are consistent with Islamic economics. This can help design development policies that are aligned with local values for Muslim communities, specifically, the three Southern border provinces of Thailand.

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