Globalization and the Politics of Development in the Middle East

Globalization and the Politics of Development in the Middle East

Globalization and the Politics of Development in the Middle East

Globalization and the Politics of Development in the Middle East

Synopsis

At the beginning of the twenty-first century countries in the Middle East and North Africa are contending with the challenges of economic globalization. In a straightforward and, at times, irreverent analysis of the regions' response to these challenges, the authors demonstrate that there is a direct correlation between economic performance and democratization: the more liberal the polity, the more effective its economy in responding to globalization. This is an original and incisive approach to the political economy of the Middle East that will be an essential purchase for students and policy-makers.

Excerpt

Some readers may have memories of postwar Alexandria and Cairo or will have read Lawrence Durrell's Alexandria Quartet — the tales of a cosmopolitan high society. Egypt appeared in the mid—1940s to be as economically developed as war-torn Greece and equally ready to catch up with the rest of Europe. To the north, Turkey was singled out like Greece for special assistance under the Truman Doctrine (March 1947) and seemed virtually a part of Europe. To the west, in “French” Algeria, Algiers was at least as prosperous as the rest of France, and, further west, Casablanca was home to big French industrial interests poised to transform the picturesque Moroccan protectorate into Europe's California. At the eastern end of the Mediterranean, a newly independent and polyglot Lebanon was fast becoming the West's principal commercial gateway to Iran, Iraq, and the Gulf. Riding on the postwar oil boom in those states, Lebanon would become the Middle East's Switzerland in the 1950s and 1960s and apparently exemplify an easy “modernization without revolution” (Salem 1973). Beneath snow-covered mountains on the unspoiled shores of a clear and relatively unpolluted Mediterranean Sea, Beirut was as pretty as Geneva in those days, at least in the richer parts of the city, and rather more lively than Calvin's home. Inland, to the east of Lebanon's two mountain ridges, the open Syrian economy boomed with new manufacturing and agricultural development in the 1950s (Sachs and Warner 1995: 34). Morocco and Turkey also grew rapidly during this period because their open economies took advantage of expanding world markets. of all the new states in the region, however, Iraq had the most promising prospects for balanced development. It was endowed with the world's second largest oil reserves, the most water of any country in the mena including Turkey, some of the richest alluvial soils, a strong British educational system, and a relatively large, skilled workforce. Further east, Iran had thrice the population and a diversified economy with oil reserves only slightly less plentiful than Iraq's and very substantial natural gas deposits as well. Captivated by the cash flows, the young shah would dream of . . .

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