Land Reform and Development in the Middle East: A Study of Egypt, Syria, and Iraq

By Doreen Warriner | Go to book overview

I
THE AGRARIAN REFORM IN EGYPT

THE BACKGROUND

THE present Government of Egypt has ideals but no ideology, as revolutionaries nowadays are expected to have. No single intellectual influence has been predominant. It combines pure nationalists and revolutionaries, held together by Colonel Nasser in a tense union for action. Even at the outset it was not united, except on the issue of land reform.

Class interests do not play much part in its outlook. It is true that the Army Group is of middle-class origin,1 and that its strong supporters are found in the sons of the farming middle class, well-to-do people with fifty acres in the Delta. Its leftwing adherents describe it as 'our bourgeois revolution'. But though the new régime commands respect from liberal opinion, it also encounters much criticism. Business men and professional people have come to terms, and so has the bureaucracy, without enthusiasm. The society over which the young Government rules is as old and sophisticated at the 'second level' as it was at the top. The bourgeoisie cannot produce an emotional response, even if it acknowledges the need for cutting out the dead wood. The aims of the Egyptian revolution are a long way ahead of middle-class opinion.

Confronted with a Government which seems to fit into no ordinary pattern, Western observers have sought for labels, such as 'Kemalist', which relate it to the past or to modern Europe's political categories. But it is they, and not the Government, who are out of date. The ad hoc policy which the Government has followed does not correspond to any dated political 'ism', but it does correspond to the new line of thinking about the economic development of underdeveloped countries, a line to which the United Nations report on Measures for the EconomicDevelopment of Under-Developed Countries

____________________
1
As H. C. Ayrout points out, this class has produced most of Egypt's eminent men ( Fellahs d'Egypte, 6th ed. ( Cairo, Éditions du Sphynx, 1952), p. 47).

-10-

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Land Reform and Development in the Middle East: A Study of Egypt, Syria, and Iraq
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface, to the First Edition vi
  • Preface to the Second Edition ix
  • Introduction: the Meaning Of Land Reform 1
  • I- The Agrarian Reform in Egypt 10
  • II- Social Structure And Technical Change in the Crescent 55
  • III- Private Enterprise in Syria 71
  • IV- Money in Iraq 113
  • Conclusion The Dynamics of Change 184
  • Postscript Agrarian Reform in The United Arab Republic 191
  • Bibliography 230
  • Index 233
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