Cents & Non-Cents [The Nemesis of Inflation], Published by Leadstart Publishing, 2015
(To be released around October 7, 2015)
MOHAMMED SAIFUL ISLAM (Saif) was born in Nagaon, Assam in 1951. He passed out of St. Edmunds School in 1968 and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Pure Sciences from Cotton College, Guwahati. He studied Chartered Accountancy for a while before taking up a career in banking. His predilection for academic pursuits steered him towards assignments as diverse as Industrial Engineering, Business Management, Information Technology and Enterprise Risk Management. This extensive exposure has served to add value to this book in no small measure.
Saif has traveled extensively and lived in many different places across India. Post-retirement he has taken up writing as a full-time occupation
For millennia, the waywardness of inflation has vexed economists and financial experts alike yet neither individuals nor nations have succeeded in coming to grips with it. Across the world, it is the common man, bewildered and exasperated by this baffling phenomenon called ‘inflation’, who has always been left holding the short end of the stick. No matter what the remedial measures adopted by experts, INFLATION will just not be TAMED.
This book, written by a non-economist, in a style readily comprehensible by lay persons (who are not averse to a modicum of basic maths), delves into the arcane world of money, commerce, banking and finance to wring out the shocking truth about inflation from the shadowy depths. These pages will indelibly alter the reader’s perception of money and leave the worlds of banking and economics both shaken and stirred.
THIS BOOK IS ABOUT MONEY and about the close – almost intimate – relationship it has with us humans and the powerful influence it exercises, not just on our individual lives and our livelihood, but on the monetary fortunes and economic vicissitudes of entire nations and peoples.
Since this book is addressed to the lay reader (one who is not averse to a modicum of basic maths), it is also a little about numerous other subjects that are incidental to the understanding of concepts and lines of argument, logic of assertions and the denouement. It forays into banking and finance often; it touches on economics, and on the rudiments of accounting and basic maths where needed, to credibly present a rationale for or against a contention or an opinion. The book traces the birth and evolution of money in words that are readily comprehensible to the layperson. The discussions on the issues dwell on the age-old debate over the impact of interest or usury on businesses, finance, economics and, eventually, human society. More importantly, the step-by-step investigation reveals the enigmatic role interest plays in the aetiology of inflation.
The payment of interest on moneys borrowed has been an integral part of mercantile activity since very long ago. In times gone by, even before money as we know it was invented, interest would be paid in kind. The ‘principal’ of loans taken of grain or seeds would be repaid along with ‘interest’ of additional amounts of grain or seeds after a successful harvest. Animals borrowed would be returned along with an offspring or two. This was possible since the commodities loaned had the intrinsic power to generate themselves and it was only fair to share the increase of the commodity with the creditor.
But money, as we all know, has no inherent capacity to generate itself. This attribute alone can be, and has been, the bone of contention in many an acrimonious debate between the stand taken by those in favour of proscribing interest on loans and their equally vehement detractors. No doubt, there will always be more than just one school of thought on any contentious issue and the subject matter of this book has had more than its fair share of controversy.
Numerous books have been written, opinions expressed and dissertations made on the insidious influence of interest on human society since the time of Aristotle and, perhaps even earlier; so one may well ask, ‘Why one more?’
For one, the extensive array of books on the subject demand from the reader more than just the modicum of knowledge in the domains of money, banking, finance and economics that the layperson can hope to possess. Apart from the ability to earn and spend money, most people – other than perhaps economists and citizen.
Secondly – and more importantly – much of the available writing on the subject stems from prohibitions contained in the scriptures of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, the arguments against charging of interest being predominantly based upon theological injunctions. Many philosophers and statesmen have also articulated with rationale about the ill effects of interest on human society, but then, there are as many convincing arguments for the levying of interest as those against it, depending on one’s point of view. But none of the books have conclusively identified the real causative agent of inflation.
These, and many other related books, essentially focus on the authors’ viewpoints and historical perspectives on the phenomenon of inflation financial experts – are afflicted by a pervasive ignorance about the mechanism behind its nascence and growth, and the mysterious and shadowy role it plays in our lives. Even the ‘simple’ arithmetic behind the calculation of basic commercial variables such as compound interest, mark-ups and discounts on sales prices, is usually confusing to the average based on various schools of thought. Books based on the Shariah deal with modalities for implementing an interest-free system of banking and finance with the presumption that the reader first of all willingly acknowledges that the levying of interest is wrong per se, without really understanding why.
This book can perhaps be perceived as answering the ‘why’ – it meticulously probes the reasons behind ‘why interest is harmful for the economy and the nation’ without moralising, without prejudices and without any presumptions about the unethical or sinful nature of interest. A sincere attempt has been made to dispel myths, provide insight in simple terms and, most of all, to disinter the truth about money – what money was intended to be and what man’s avarice has made it today. All the arguments and contentions are substantiated by irrefutable evidence and this, perhaps, is the only book that offers workable solutions and shows the way ahead.
The Indian rupee has been used as the unit of currency and calculations are based on data relating to the Indian economy and demographics. However, the rationale behind the analyses and the conclusions would hold true for any other economy as well.
Although a work of non-fiction, this short treatise is closely interwoven with a tongue-in-cheek parallel storyline of part fiction and part truth that in a way complements the narrative without going into pedantic and obscure technicalities that most laypersons would find confusing and perhaps even offensive. Hopefully, the diversions, narrated in a lighter vein, serve to make an otherwise stodgy and complex subject more readable.
(Extract from Introduction to the Book. The book is due to be released around October 7, 2015.)
The book has been released and is available for overseas buyers at Amazon.com besides others.
In India the book is available at Amazon.in, Infibeam.com besides others.
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The book is yet to be reviewed.