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

By Doreen Warriner | Go to book overview

IV
MONEY IN IRAQ1

THE BACKGROUND

IRAQ is underdeveloped in the exact literal sense. Its resources are half-utilized; its population is small and poor; its society is primitive and disintegrating; and its environment is only now being brought under control. These conditions are interrelated. The population is small and poor because in the past it could not master its environment, and the environment remained uncontrollable because capital was lacking--a lowpressure vicious-circle economy, as compared with Egypt's high tensions.

In every way but one, rural poverty, the economic position is the reverse of that of Egypt, where the environment is tightly controlled, resources are skilfully utilized, population densely settled, and society highly evolved. Though Iraq's resources are underdeveloped, its conditions do not correspond with the 'underdevelopment' model now most frequently postulated by economists. Two things are unusual: the adverse natural conditions of the Tigris-Euphrates valley, and the abundance of capital. Few countries have so much to develop, or so much to develop it with.

The conjunction of these unusual conditions makes Iraq's situation extraordinary. 'Money is not the only thing that is needed', says Professor Arthur Lewis, 'but money is the sine qua non.' In this country money is truly a sine qua non, because without it the environment could never be brought under control. Yet Iraq's experience is fascinating, because it demonstrates what money can and cannot do.

Briefly, the adverse factors in the environment are these. The waters of the Tigris and the Euphrates do not provide a regular natural renewal of the fertility of the soil, as the Nile does. Until 1956 the danger of flood was always present in south Iraq, major floods occurring once in every two or three

____________________
This chapter has not been revised; see p. x above.

-113-

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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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