HomeTunisia – Ibn Khaldun

Tunisia – Ibn Khaldun

Ibn Khladun,1 a brilliant mind that surveyed the world’s histories and tendencies and organized them in a system of thinking2 that influenced all those that have followed after. Born in Tunisia, he is brought before us on this banknote from that same country.

Tunisia 10 dinars front dated 1994
Tunisia 10 dinars front 1994

Selected somewhat randomly3 by me, from among his numerous contributions, is his theory on taxation.4 He argues for low taxation, such as the people are happy to pay, so as to maintain economic incentive. He observed that early dynasties receive large revenue from a relatively small tax percentage assessment whereas aging dynasties receive smaller revenue from increasingly larger percentage tax assessments; this illustrating the negative impact of taxation on productivity. He says governments expenditures should be wise and productive.

Tunisia 10 dinars back dated 1994
Tunisia 10 dinars back 1994

The date prominently featured on the back of our banknote is 600 years after Ibn Khuldun (1332-1406), thus, has nothing to do with his story. It is however, significant in Tunisia’s story. It is the date of the so called bloodless coup5 in Tunisia when El Abidine Ben Ali came to power, the same who fled his country into exile at the commencement of the Arab Spring in 2011. 6


  1. ” Ibn Khaldun is the most important figure in the field of History and Sociology in Muslim History. ” http://www.muslimphilosophy.com/ik/klf.htm
  2. Encyclopedia Britannica, “the greatest Arab historian, who developed one of the earliest nonreligious philosophies of history, contained in his masterpiece, the Muqaddimah (“Introduction”)” https://www.britannica.com/biography/Ibn-Khaldun .
  3. on my twitter feed this morning 7-1-2019, “When asked about his spending plans and plans to cut taxes, Boris Johnson responds “as the great Tunisian scholar and sage Ibn Khaldun pointed out as early as the 14th century, there are plenty of taxes that you can cut which will actually increase your revenues””
  4. Abdul Azim Islahi, writing for MuslimHeritage.com , Ibn Khaldun’s Theory of Taxation and its Relevance Today ,”Ibn Khaldun’s theory of taxation has been considered one of his most important contributions to economic thought.” http://muslimheritage.com/article/ibn-khaldun%E2%80%99s-theory-taxation-and-its-relevance-today
  5. for more, see post on Tunisia in this website https://aroundtheworldin80currencies.com/tunisia/
  6. Thus the date does not honor (nor dishonor) Ibn Khuldun; it simply is irrelevant to him. But Ibn Khuldun seems to have been associated with that date to lend honor to that date; in other words, to honor El Abidine Ben Ali. A case of banknotes as propaganda.