Timur Kuran on the Foundations of Arab Democracy

In case you missed it, author Timur Kuran’s New York Times op-ed ran over Memorial Day weekend.  His new book, The Long Divergence: How Islamic Law Held Back the Middle East, has been praised for it’s groundbreaking argument that neither colonialism nor geography are to blame for the Middle East lagging behind the rest of the world in economic growth and Kuran’s Times piece continues along that line of reasoning.


  1. Nicely written analysis explaining the progression of Islamic law. Early Muslim period rests on assumptions of traditions and consensus. Hence, it remains guesswork. Sometimes confuses cause and effect, in particular in its treatment of the effect of the inheritance laws on the economy. It essentially argues a self-fulfilling prophesy of the author.