Economic Crisis and Political Change in North Africa

Economic Crisis and Political Change in North Africa

Economic Crisis and Political Change in North Africa

Economic Crisis and Political Change in North Africa

Synopsis

Using a political economy approach, Layachi and his contributors present a comprehensive analysis of recent economic, social, and political developments in North Africa. The volume offers a unique blend of sociological, economic, and political analysis of the crises of the 1980s and 1990s, and looks to the future of the region as it faces major domestic and international challenges.

Excerpt

We are prisoners of our past and inventors of our future. Between this hereditary and environmental determinism and the promise of unfettered creativity lies the dilemma of humanity trying to make a better -- or even good -- world for itself. the constraints of the past also are the raw material for the future, and what people create, in the context of a constrained, creating world around them, is both open ended and past closed. But the end is as open and the past as closed as we make them because we are free-willed human beings. Mektoub, say the people of the Maghreb, which means "it is written." It is indeed, but we are the ones who do the writing because we create and perpetuate our own images of the past and project and circumscribe the goals of the future. the constraints that make development possible and problematic are made of a perceived environment and are reffied to constitute the lenses through which the way to a better future is seen. We are the inventors of our past and the prisoners of our future.

Development, current scholarship tends to agree, involves and depends on the growth and harmonization of both state and society (Deng, et al, 1996; Zartman, et al, 1996). the state, as the sovereign and supreme manager of conflicts among groups in society, is needed to provide an institutionalized center and direction for the nodes and clusters of its population. Civil society comprised of those nodes and clusters, converting the population from an undifferentiated mass into a congeries of intermediate institutions that manages many of its own conflicts and aggregates many of its own supports and demands. Between the two levels of activity, there is a relationship, usually explicitly formulated in a social contract. If all conflicts, demands, and activities are taken to, or arrogated by the state, political inflation takes place, the state is overburdened, and society is atrophied. If no demands, supports, and conflicts are taken to the state, the state is useless and not performing its functions. It is reduced to a symbolic representation to the outside world. While each of these two elements is an evolving, moving component and their interrela-

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