The global food price spikes of 2008 and 2011 resulted in tens of millions of people being pushed into poverty. The cause of these spikes is diverse, including short, medium and long-term factors. The extent each respectively contributed is a matter of on-going debate. This article will explore the role of speculation and futures markets as one of the causes of the global price spikes. This will be followed by an exploration of the understanding of risk, uncertainty and speculation in Islamic law, and how these elements should be curbed in order to prevent food price spikes.
Recurrent and concurrent crises call for new development paradigms, as dominant theories of economic development are not fostering equity or sustainability. We argue that part of the reason is that the conceptualization of development, and the resulting metrics driving decision-making, are narrow. Building on work that proposes adding values/ethics as a fourth pillar to development, along with economic, environmental, and social pillars, this article presents an Islamic perspective of how values-based development would differ from the dominant, contemporary forms. While rooted in a specific perspective and worldview, it has great relevance as approximately a quarter of humanity adheres to the faith. We offer a holistic, values-based approach to development, drawing on classical foundations and contemporary lessons, rooted in a different epistemic and ideological orientation. On this basis, we highlight five values that could be the foundation for re-orienting development: vicegerency, justice, excellence, tranquility, and freedom. Integrating these values in a fourth, values-based pillar of development alters the conceptualization and the metrics of development, resulting in processes driven by different objectives for individuals and societies.