Friday, February 05, 2010

Ibn Khaldun In Our Time   posted by Razib @ 2/05/2010 01:09:00 AM

Ibn Khaldun on In Our Time. Excellent program. Khaldun's assessment that the Mamluks of Egypt had developed a system of rule which was robust against the decay of asabiyyah was born out by 450 years of subsequent history (that is, until the liquidation of the Mamluk ruling caste of Egypt in the 19th century). Unfortunately, the pervasive Islamic system of channeling slaves into the military and bureaucracy from the time of Al-Mu'tasim in the early 9th century seems to have been a local optimum. Like a Confucian bureaucratic state it was relatively stable and robust, maintaining a modicum of peace and order, but over the long term it produced stasis. These are social systems geared toward squeezing more "efficiencies" (operationally, rents for the elite) out of the system, not reinventing it so as to generate growth in wealth which compounds.