book review egypt’s rocky road ahead
Last Updated : GMT 13:03:42
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

Book review: Egypt’s rocky road ahead

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Book review: Egypt’s rocky road ahead

Cairo - Arabstoday

A few months after Hosni Mubarak lost the presidency to a full-fledged revolution, the Egyptian economy — whose inequities were always visible to the naked eye — brought the country to a virtual halt. It will be a while before this generation of fed-up young Egyptians enjoys the fruits of a recovery, for much needs to be accomplished to fix what is clearly broken. Samer Soliman, an assistant professor of Political Economy and Political Science at the American University in Cairo, and an activist editor of Al Bosla, a radical annual democratic publication, provides a first-rate analysis of what went wrong. First published in 2006 by the Cairo printing house Al Dar under the title Al-Nizam al-Qawy wal Dawlah al-Da`ifah: Al-Azma al-Maliyyah wal-Taghyir al-Siyasih fi Misr fi `Ahd Mubarak (Strong Regime and the Weak State: Fiscal Crisis and Political Change in Egypt Under Mubarak), and using state budgetary data, Soliman predicted the collapse of the Mubarak regime due to a serious fiscal crisis. In fact, the crammed-with-statistics book (26 figures and 13 tables) reveals that behind the putative strength of the Mubarak regime lay an increasingly weak state, as Cairo could no longer pay for many subsidies, ranging from cooking oil to wheat. Soliman documents how successive military regimes relied on the police or the mukhabarat (the so-called intelligence forces) to quash secular and religious opposition while ensuring that citizens were at least fed. Over the past three decades, however, and even with generous foreign stipends, the treasury ran deficits. The United States in particular allocated approximately $64 billion (about $2 billion, or Dh7.34 billion, annually) between 1979 and 2011, as fulfilment of the peace treaty with Israel after the Camp David Accords, though most of these sums were devoted to military equipment. To be sure, Washington officially gave Israel about $96 billion during the same period too, though somehow the Israelis spent the money in a wiser fashion, developing a sophisticated economy even if the two countries posted roughly similar GDPs standing at about $220 billion in 2010. Naturally, while the Egyptian population was nearly 11 times larger (80 million versus 7 million), the authoritarian Egyptian regime boasted a corrupt system, one that redefined nepotism and wallowed in special interests. Consequently, far less was spent on basic necessities, with fewer social benefits, that further taxed an impoverished population. Although Cairo identified and invested heavily in the tourism sector, its lukewarm efforts necessitated additional revenues, with more taxes levied on those who could least afford it. Article continues below Unable to create enough employment for a population growing by one million every nine months — clearly Egypt\'s most serious challenge for decades to come — and burdened with huge fiscal obligations, the government did the only thing it actually could do — cut public services. This translated into a weakened state — since deteriorating services were linked to poor opportunities for employment and challenging economic-development issues. Even if an entrepreneur wished to apply an idea to the marketplace, hurdles were erected in his path, which meant that one fell back on corruption to get things done. Soliman has followed the money and found the truth by focusing on the regime\'s patterns of extractions and allocations. He laments that for all the available assistance, Cairo failed to foster economic growth, without which the government could not long survive. Today, Western and Arab powers are scrambling to meet Egypt\'s economic needs through bilateral and multilateral aid packages, with pledges approaching $20 billion. Moreover, an effort is under way to cancel a portion of the country\'s external debts, estimated at $32 billion in 2010, which hang like an albatross around the country\'s neck. While such generosity cannot but assist Egypt\'s new rulers, only an extreme makeover of fiscal policies will pave the way for genuine political changes. Short of courageous democratising initiatives, including economic transparency and political freedoms, chances are good that the crisis will not strengthen the state. Soliman was not surprised by the 2011 protests, though he recounts how past campaigns, especially those associated with labour and political activisms within the Kifayah (Enough) movement, set the pace. What the Mubarak government could not grasp, and what his military successors seem to ignore, were the levels of frustration and anger bottled up inside every Egyptian. Then, as now, demonstrators mobilised and put their lives on the line because they expected a better life. After the revolution, few ought to be surprised if people go back to the streets for another chapter of the unfolding revolution, this time to prevent starvation. Ultimately, while Soliman analyses the failure of the state, it behooves Mubarak\'s successor(s) to encourage the creation of wealth if the country is to prosper.  

arabstoday
arabstoday

Name *

E-mail *

Comment Title*

Comment *

: Characters Left

Mandatory *

Terms of use

Publishing Terms: Not to offend the author, or to persons or sanctities or attacking religions or divine self. And stay away from sectarian and racial incitement and insults.

I agree with the Terms of Use

Security Code*

book review egypt’s rocky road ahead book review egypt’s rocky road ahead

 



Name *

E-mail *

Comment Title*

Comment *

: Characters Left

Mandatory *

Terms of use

Publishing Terms: Not to offend the author, or to persons or sanctities or attacking religions or divine self. And stay away from sectarian and racial incitement and insults.

I agree with the Terms of Use

Security Code*

book review egypt’s rocky road ahead book review egypt’s rocky road ahead

 



Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Jordanian woman reveals her project

GMT 00:46 2017 Saturday ,11 November

Jordanian woman reveals her project
Arab Today, arab today The Big Apple bike boom

GMT 10:47 2017 Wednesday ,22 November

The Big Apple bike boom
Arab Today, arab today Keep kids busy at Thanksgiving gatherings

GMT 11:14 2017 Friday ,10 November

Keep kids busy at Thanksgiving gatherings
Arab Today, arab today Leaders of Russia, Iran, Turkey meet

GMT 10:12 2017 Wednesday ,22 November

Leaders of Russia, Iran, Turkey meet
Arab Today, arab today 'Advanced' cyber attack targets Saudi Arabia

GMT 10:18 2017 Wednesday ,22 November

'Advanced' cyber attack targets Saudi Arabia
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Australian academic's book pulled

GMT 15:20 2017 Monday ,13 November

Australian academic's book pulled
Arab Today, arab today May under Brexit pressure at EU reform summit

GMT 02:14 2017 Saturday ,18 November

May under Brexit pressure at EU reform summit
Arab Today, arab today Delhi half-marathon to go ahead

GMT 03:51 2017 Saturday ,18 November

Delhi half-marathon to go ahead
Arab Today, arab today The history of solar eclipses

GMT 05:16 2017 Sunday ,20 August

The history of solar eclipses
Arab Today, arab today Honda recalls 800,000 minivans

GMT 11:43 2017 Wednesday ,22 November

Honda recalls 800,000 minivans
Arab Today, arab today VW says will invest over 34bn euros

GMT 07:19 2017 Tuesday ,21 November

VW says will invest over 34bn euros
Arab Today, arab today Singer Jahda Wahba has unlimited ambitions

GMT 07:56 2017 Monday ,20 November

Singer Jahda Wahba has unlimited ambitions
Arab Today, arab today paObama climate envoy slams Trump's rejection

GMT 16:04 2017 Friday ,17 November

paObama climate envoy slams Trump's rejection

GMT 09:23 2017 Saturday ,18 November

Fedra happy for “Between Two Worlds” success

GMT 11:15 2017 Thursday ,16 November

Angola oil boss sacked by father's protege

GMT 18:41 2017 Friday ,20 October

Designer Aql Faqih aspires to innovation

GMT 11:38 2017 Wednesday ,15 November

Unloved vultures fight for their survival

GMT 11:49 2017 Thursday ,17 August

Egyptian artist presents new collection of designs

GMT 13:41 2017 Tuesday ,21 November

French choke up over proposal

GMT 00:44 2017 Monday ,20 November

Japanese regulators raid Airbnb

GMT 17:12 2017 Monday ,07 August

Al-Shawaifi reveals secrets of total solar eclipse

GMT 16:53 2017 Tuesday ,05 September

Youssra depended on colored foam
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
 
 Arab Today Facebook,arab today facebook  Arab Today Twitter,arab today twitter Arab Today Rss,arab today rss  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday
بناية النخيل - رأس النبع _ خلف السفارة الفرنسية _بيروت - لبنان
arabstoday, Arabstoday, Arabstoday