Although Islamic economics was developed to serve cultural and political
ends, efforts have been made to put its ideals into practice. There now
exist Islamic banks, which claim to offer an interest-free alternative
to conventional banking, and government-run Islamic redistribution systems,
which were established to reduce inequalities. These institutions have
not revolutionized the economic lives of Muslims. Yet, along with a wide
variety of enterprises that have emerged outside the purview of Islamic
economics, they have formed vibrant Islamic subeconomies in numerous metropolises.
These subeconomies are expanding because they foster interpersonal trust
and offer opportunities for guilt relief.
Journal of Economic Perspectives, 9 (Fall 1995): 155-173.