ibn Khaldun's Management
From Dinar Standard
Many classical scholars wrote books and treatises which fell into a genre called nasihat al muluk (advice to the kings). This advice to royal authority stemmed from the fact that these scholars served in the courts of sultans, caliphs and princes in various territories which made them intimately aware of the conditions existing in the court. They observed the internal workings, politics, and intrigues between the court’s employees as well as the interplay between the court and the masses.
Ibn Khaldun wrote, “Good rulership is equivalent to mildness… If the ruler uses force and is ready to mete out punishment and eager to expose the faults of people… (his subjects) become fearful and depressed and seek to protect themselves against him through lies, ruses, and deceit… If the ruler continues to keep a forceful grip on his subjects, group feeling will be destroyed. If the ruler is mild and overlooks the bad sides of his subjects, they will trust him and take refuge with him… Everything is then in order in the state. (153)
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“If a merchant is not afraid of quarrels, knows how to settle an account, and is always willing to enter into a dispute… he stands a better chance of being treated fairly by traders… otherwise he must have the protection of rank… the person who is afraid or unaggressive… must avoid commerce.”
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“Man, by nature, needs something to feed him and to provide for him in all conditions and stages of his life, from the time of his early growth to his maturity and in to his old age. God created everything in the world for man and gave it to him, as indicated in several verses of the Qur’an. Man’s hand stretches out over the whole world and all that is in it, since God made man His representative on earth.” (297)
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Or profit may be the result of human labor as applied to specific materials. This is called a craft, such as writing, carpentry, tailoring, weaving, and horsemanship. Or it may be applied to non-specific materials. This, then, includes all the other professions and activities. Or profit may come from merchandise and its use in barter; merchants can make such profit either by traveling around with (merchandise) or by hoarding it and observing the market fluctuations that affect it. This is called commerce.” (299-300)
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“… rank is widely distributed and … one’s happiness and welfare are intimately connected with the acquisition of rank. … bestowal of rank implies influence and power.” (306)
“… a person who seeks and desires rank must be obsequious and use flattery as powerful men and rulers require. Otherwise it will be impossible for him to attain any rank. Therefore, obsequiousness and flattery are the reasons why a person may be able to obtain a rank that produces happiness and profit, and that most wealthy and happy people possess this quality. Thus, too, many people who are proud and supercilious have no use for rank. Their earnings, consequently, are restricted to the results of their own labors…” (307)
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“… commerce means increasing one’s capital by buying merchandise and attempting to sell it for a price higher than its purchase price, either by waiting for market fluctuations or by transporting the merchandise to a country where that particular merchandise is more in demand and brings higher prices, or by selling it for a high price to be paid at a future date.” (312)
“In the attempt to earn the increase of capital that constitutes profit, it is unavoidable that one’s capital gets into the hands of traders, in the process of buying and selling and waiting for payment… All this causes the merchant a great deal of trouble… If he is not afraid of quarrels, knows how to settle an account, and is always willing to enter into a dispute… he stands a better chance of being treated fairly by traders… otherwise he must have the protection of rank… the person who is afraid or unaggressive… must avoid commerce.” (313)