Entrepreneurs of Lebanon: The Role of the Business Leader in a Developing Economy

Entrepreneurs of Lebanon: The Role of the Business Leader in a Developing Economy

Entrepreneurs of Lebanon: The Role of the Business Leader in a Developing Economy

Entrepreneurs of Lebanon: The Role of the Business Leader in a Developing Economy

Excerpt

The part of the world that is now Lebanon has, from the beginning of recorded time, never lacked for businessmen. From the days of the Phoenicians to the present, the denizens of the Levant have, in extraordinary numbers, made their living by buying and selling, exchanging monies, exporting and importing, serving as middlemen at all stages from the first production to the final disposition of products. Their activities have carried them throughout the Middle East, around the Mediterranean, down the east and west coasts of Africa, across Asia and, in latter times, to such outlandish outposts as São Paulo and Detroit.

Nor, until very recent times, has the characteristic activity of the typical Lebanese businessman changed very much. Lebanon presents the odd example of an economy two thirds of whose income is generated in the service area. The total net value of the products of agriculture, manufacturing, mining, and construction accounts for only one third of national income. Those who see economic development as a movement from primary (agricultural), to secondary (industrial), to tertiary (service) activity might be forced to conclude that Lebanon is already the most developed country in the world with very little, if any, place to go. Indeed, by Middle Eastern standards, Lebanon is a highly developed country. Apart from a few oil-rich sheikdoms, it has the highest per capita income in the Arab world, and other indices of economic well-being tell the same story. But $350 per capita per annum, though high for the Middle East, is not quite affluence. Moreover, the trading, banking, and exchange activities that have brought Lebanon to its present position seem destined to rather severe limitation through political and economic changes in the surrounding Arab world. Lebanon's future development may require structural and cultural changes that will make it somewhat . . .

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