Academic journal article Middle East Quarterly

A Political Economy of the Middle East

Academic journal article Middle East Quarterly

A Political Economy of the Middle East

Article excerpt

A Political Economy of the Middle East. By Melani Cammett, Ishac Diwan, Alan Richards, and John Waterbury. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 2015. 590 pp. $57, paper.

This classic study of Middle East economics, which first appeared in 1990, remains by far the best single work on the topic, equally appropriate for a university student or the general reader. Originally produced by economist Richards and political scientist Waterbury, it has been updated this time with the help of Harvard academic Cammett and Diwan of the Paris School of Economics. They have preserved much of the original analytical structure- which has aged well-though the analysis has become noticeably less influenced by left-wing shibboleths.

Eight of the thirteen chapters cover the same topics as in the first edition, updated with new anecdotes and items as well as critical data. The authors first review the basic background: demography (including the passing of the "youth bulge," soon to be replaced by aging populations); water and food; and health and education. Turning to the political economy, the reader learns of the rise and fall of state-led development; the hopes for International Monetary Fund-World Bank-style structural adjustments that were betrayed by crony capitalism; and the impact of wars. …

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