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Instability of Interest Bearing Debt Finance and the Islamic Finance Alternative By Mughees Shaukat & Datuk Othman Alhabshi

Mughees Shaukat () and Syed Othman Alhabshi ()

Islamic Economic Studies, 2015, vol. 23-2, 29-84

Abstract: Evidence has been mounting that the interest-based debt financing regime is under increasing distress. Evidence also suggests that the financial crises, whatever title they carried - exchange rate crisis or banking crisis – have been debt related crises in essence. At present, data suggest that the debt-toGDP ratio of the richest members of the G-20 is expected to reach 120% mark by 2014. There is also evidence that out of securities worth US$ 200 trillion in the global economy, no less than three-fourth represent interestbased debt. It is difficult to see how this massive debt volume can be validated by the underlying productive capacity of the global economy. This picture becomes more alarming considering the anemic state of global economic growth. There is great uncertainty with regard to interest rates. Although policy-driven interest rates are near-zero level, there is no assurance that they will not rise as the risk and inflation premia become significant. Hence, a more serious financial crisis may be in the offing and a general collapse of asset prices may occur. This paper argues that the survival of the interest-based debt regime is becoming less tenable, as is the process of financialization that has accompanied the growth of global finance over the last four decades. The above has resulted in an unprecedented increase in economic risks; generating (adverse) non-linearities in system’s behavior. Such a behavior is nothing but a demonstration of the verse, “Allah obliterates ribā ….” of the Qur’ān. As a result, the search is on for a paradigm shift towards a less volatile and more resilient financing regime. The paper proposes and advocates risk sharing based Islamic financing as a suitable alternative and further supports the claims by demonstrating empirically the better growth and stability characteristics of risk sharing based financing, using advanced dynamic heterogeneous panel techniques.

Keywords: Financial fragility; Financialization; Islamic finance; Risk-Sharing; Equity financing; Institutional and incentive structure; Dynamic Heterogeneous Panel Techniques. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: B59 E44 G01 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015
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