Moralizing the Economy

Dr. Aliaa Remtilla is currently writing a book, called Moralizing the Economy: Islam and Development in Post-Soviet Tajikistan, that examines the social consequences of capitalization.

While rational self-interest is considered ‘good’ in a capitalist economic system, it can be seen as threatening to the social fabric of society. This book shows how religion can help to make a capitalist economic system – along with its principles of self-interest – more palatable to people accustomed to socialist values, while simultaneously offering avenues to embed the economy once more.

The book considers the lived reality of Tajik Muslims since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the 1990s Tajik Civil War.  Drawing on extensive field research conducted over a period of 3 years, Dr. Remtilla shows how Ismaili Muslims living in the Ishkashim district of Tajik Badakhshan have been striving to re-moralize their economy.  Tajik Ishkashimis look to the development and religious institutions of their Shi’a Ismaili Muslim religious leader, His Highness Aga Khan IV, to pave the way for a truly moral economy to emerge.