An Open Letter to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Last Thursday night (Sept. 25, 2008) I attended an interfaith iftar dinner cosponsored by a number of pro-peace Christian churches and the Iranian mission to the United Nations. The theme was the role religion can play in solving the world’s problems and the main featured speaker was the president of Iran. Most of the speeches dealt with the constructive role religion can play in peace building and most of the speakers respectfully but unambiguously embedded questions about Iran’s human rights record into their comments. Unfortunately Dr. Ahmadinejad did not address the issues thus raised in his own speech (although he did address most of them in his appearance on the Larry King Show.)  Had I been given an opportunity to speak, I would have raised a critical Iranian domestic issue (that has its own echoes here in American politics) to which Islam happens to have the answer. Since I did not have the opportunity to address it last night, here is my

 

Open Letter to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad:

 

As your great nation struggles with many issues in its effort to assume among the powers of the earth the separate and equal station to which the laws of Nature and Nature’s God entitle it, I wish to draw your attention to one in particular to which insufficient attention is paid: the root causes of the inflation that has plagued so many nations of the world and which is now becoming acute in Iran.  It is imperative to understand the cause of Iran’s 27% inflation rate to appreciate the solution found in Islamic law.

 

Satan seduces policymakers into the irrational belief that governments can spend money without taxing by simply printing more of it. Increasing the money supply in this manner only decreases the value of the money, which is inflation.  Centuries ago Ibn Khaldun in his magnificent Introduction to History identified how the tragic flaw of rulers to seek to dispense favors to their people through spending leads them to debase their currency bringing about the downfall of their civilization. The falling purchasing power of currency cheats everyone, but it cheats those on fixed incomes the worst. Further, it not only drives prices up, but drives them up unequally in a way that exacerbates distortions in the economy and above all makes rational planning by investors difficult or impossible, driving many into poverty.

 

Only Allah can create something out of nothing. The only way to improve the standard of living of the people of Iran is to remove the obstacles from the marketplace that prevent the people of Iran from arranging their capital in the ways that are most productive. Expansion of the money supply is no shortcut to prosperity. You have seen the disaster that easy credit has caused in the American financial markets. Your proposal to give the money directly to the poor rather than subsidizing commodities is only a marginal improvement. It gives the poor slightly more control over the resources you give them, but it does nothing to stem the expansion of the money supply that is causing your inflation.

 

I strongly urge you to immediately reduce government spending, and to develop a plan to issue a currency denominated in units of gold dinars and backed by Iran’s oil supply. Such a currency will never lose its value as long the oil backing it is sufficient to buy back the currency in circulation. It will provide you with a non-inflationary way to share the oil wealth of Iran with its people. Once established, such a currency would be attractive to all the peoples of the world who would want to denominate their foreign debts in it as the world used to use the U.S. dollar before America foolishly abandoned the gold standard and silver backing, paving the way for their recurrent inflation and the current credit crisis.

 

May Allah guide you closer to the truth.

 

Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, Ph.D.

Minaret of Freedom Institute
www.minaret.org

One Response to “An Open Letter to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad”

  1. Benjamin Weinberg says:

    I am glad that Dr. Ahmad wrote this. I have felt horrible for the people of Iran since I have began noticing news of the country’s inflation on Antiwar.com along with their firing of the economic advisors for warning against this policy.

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