قانون، قدرت دولت، و وضع مالیات در تاریخ اسلام
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|1249||2009||14 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Volume 71, Issue 3, September 2009, Pages 704–717
The ruler's power varied greatly in Islamic history over time and space. We explain these variations through a political economy approach to public finance, identifying factors affecting economic power and its constraints. An influential interest group capable of affecting the ruler's power was the legal community (‘ulamā’). This community could increase the ruler's ability to extract a surplus from the citizenry by conferring legitimacy, thereby lowering the cost of collecting taxes. It could also limit power through legal constraints on taxation. We show how changes in legitimacy and legal constraints affected the economic power of rulers in representative episodes of Islamic history and identify general trends and dynamic processes underlying the relationship between the state and the legal community.
A widely held belief about Islamic history has been the enormity of the power of the rulers. Strong rulers are perceived to have been a typical fixture of the political landscape of the Islamic civilization from its beginning in the seventh century to recent times, a vast majority of Islamic societies being governed by rulers with few institutional constraints on their coercive powers. Most scholars, from Machiavelli in the sixteenth century to modern analysts of present-day Middle Eastern monarchies, have variously described governance in these societies as “despotic,” “dictatorial,” and “authoritarian,” giving them as examples of “extreme centralization,” “patrimonial domination,” or rule “by a prince and his servants.”1 One of the problems of such characterizations is that the associated image applies only to certain times and places in Islamic history. Although some rulers were certainly strong and despotic, others were not. Sometimes the ruler was weak because of inadequate legitimacy or because he faced steady opposition. Another problem is that we know too little about the nature and institutional sources of the economic power of rulers to be able to explain its variation over time and space. Previous studies have variously examined the religious, military, and political nature of the Muslim ruler's power over the general public. They have also identified factors ranging from internal conflicts to external threats as sources of variation. However, they have not systematically studied the deeper institutional roots of political power and the mechanisms through which it has been maintained or constrained. Recent developments in the political economy literature on state power have not been fully employed to the study of Islamic history. The power relationship between the ruler and the general public is clearly complex and multi-dimensional. Our purpose here is to study a crucial piece of this complicated puzzle, namely the role of the legal community (‘ulamā’) in relation to the ruler's ability to extract a surplus. We have two general objectives. The first is to develop a simple model of economic power and constraints by combining insights from the recent political economy literatures on dictatorship, legal system, and public finance. To identify the sources and constraints of the ruler's power, we focus on the legal community. As an influential interest group, this community could affect the ruler's ability to extract a surplus from the citizenry by conferring legitimacy (thus lowering the cost of tax collection) and interpreting the tax law (possibly imposing legal constraints on taxation). Our second objective is to use the model to explain the rise and fall of the rulers’ economic power in Islamic history. Studying rulers in three representative episodes, we show how variations in legitimacy and legal constraints affected their ability to extract a surplus. We end with an analytical synthesis that identifies general trends in the relationship between rulers and the legal community and the reasons for the stability of the processes driving these trends.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Although the Ottoman rulers enjoyed a great deal of power, such strength was not necessarily a predetermined, static, or common characteristic of all Islamic states. Centuries earlier, the Abbasid rulers had faced significant constraints to their coercive powers. Preceding the Abbasids in one of the earliest stages of the development of the Islamic state, the Umayyads also faced a different set of circumstances, which for them meant great powers, though in a different way than the Ottomans. Throughout Islamic history, the rulers’ power varied significantly over time and across contemporary states. The legal community played a central role in developing the institutional roots and regulating the economic consequences of the rulers’ power in Islamic history. Using a political economy approach to public finance, we have identified two mechanisms affecting the economic power of the rulers. The legal community could legitimize the ruler, thereby lowering the cost of collecting taxes. But it could also constrain his power over the general public, imposing legal constraints on his ability to tax and spend. Evidence from three different episodes of Islamic history supports the argument about the role of the legal community in legitimizing and constraining the rulers. Early in Islamic history, while the legal community was not yet sufficiently developed, it could play only a very limited role in legitimizing rulers, making legitimacy a significant problem during this period. The absence of an established legal community also meant the lack of legal constraints on the economic powers of the rulers. As the Islamic legal system became established and the legal community gained greater recognition during the eight and ninth centuries, it was able to confer legitimacy on the rulers, but it could also impose legal constraints on their economic powers. Centuries later, the key to the Ottoman rulers’ success in securing high economic powers was their ability to incorporate the legal community into the government bureaucracy and control its hierarchy. While receiving legitimacy from the legal community, the rulers faced no significant legal constraints in their ability to extract a surplus from the subjects. Whereas the ability of the legal community to constrain the ruler could fluctuate significantly over time and space, its ability to confer legitimacy followed a steady trend. Until the eighteenth century, the trend was generally upwards. While the ability of the legal community to confer legitimacy was rising, the rulers had greater incentives to support its activities financially to ensure that they matched the interests of the state. The cooperation between the rulers and the legal community, supported by a self-reinforcing endogenous process, continued as long as the power of the legal community did not threaten the long term interests of the state and the magnitude of exogenous shocks that could harm the cooperation were not too high. From the eighteenth century onwards, however, as the power of the legal community and the impact of exogenous influences from western Europe reached levels that were too high for cooperation to be sustained, the trend was reversed, and the nature and scope of the relationship between the state and the legal community changed. In parallel developments observed throughout the Islamic World, the rulers scaled back their investments in institutions supporting traditional forms of cooperation with the legal community and shifted resources towards new sources of legitimacy.