Egypt in Revolution: An Economic Analysis

Egypt in Revolution: An Economic Analysis

Egypt in Revolution: An Economic Analysis

Egypt in Revolution: An Economic Analysis

Excerpt

This is my third attempt at presenting an economic study of Egypt; I can assure the reader that there will not be a fourth. The first study, Egypt: an Economic and Social Analysis, written in Cairo in 1942-3 and published in 1947, ran out of print and then was somewhat belatedly banned by the censor under the old régime. The second, Egypt at Mid-Century, an extensively revised edition, written in New York in 1952-3 and published in 1954, had a much smoother passage but eventually also ran out of print. The present work was prepared in Cairo, Beirut, and London in 1961-2. Except for the first chapter, which gives the indispensable historical background, this book has been completely rewritten. In some chapters, however, the previous framework has been retained, since it seemed the most logical one, and where things have not changed, either reference has been made to the earlier book or, where the argument needed it, the salient paragraphs have been reproduced.

The writing of a new book has been made necessary by the fact that, in the course of the last ten years, Egypt has undergone more radical changes than at any time in its long history, with the possible exception of the 1820's. Like so many underdeveloped countries, Egypt is passing through a number of superimposed revolutions: a nationalist upsurge, an internal shift in the balance of classes, a social awakening, a demographic explosion, an agricultural revolution and an industrial revolution, not to mention the ever-accelerating 'revolution of rising expectations'. But in addition, in the last year, it has embarked on a socialist experiment.

All this raises great difficulties for the student. In the first place, many institutions are in flux and it is almost impossible to keep up with the changes which are occurring daily. It seems likely that several of the statements made in this book will have become obsolete by the time it is published. But the outlines of the new order being forged are clear, and the experiment under way is important enough, and sufficiently advanced, to warrant description, analysis, and judgement.

The second obstacle is the lack of material; in the last few months it has become much more difficult to obtain information on most aspects of the Egyptian economy. Since the situation is unlikely to improve in the foreseeable future, it seemed pointless to hold up . . .

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