Panel 8a Political Economy after the Arab Revolution: New Perspectives

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Chair: Dr Amnon  Aran, Senior Lecturer, City University London

Paper 1: Short Term Answers to Long Term Problems: The Arab Revolution and Socio-Economic Planning in the GCC
Professor Rory Miller, Director of Middle East & Mediterranean Studies, King’s College London

This paper will examine the socio economic lessons of the Arab Spring for the GCC states. The first lesson is that poverty is not alone sufficient to explain popular unrest leading to regime collapse. The second is that relative decline in human/institutional development is as dangerous to regime survival as absolute decline. Up to this point the practical response of the GCC states has been the mobilization of economic resources to placate political demands and accommodate social pressure. But the lessons of the last year make it clear that while this may provide short-term relief, it will not provide long-term stability. >> download the paper

Paper 2:  Political Economy of Egypt in Post-2011 Revolution
Dr Ashraf Mishrif, Senior Lecturer in Political Economy, Middle East & Mediterranean Studies, King’s College London

The aim of this paper is to examine Egypt’s short term substantial economic challenges in the post-revolutionary period as a result of political uncertainty. It will also examine the emerging role of the military in the transition process and in shaping the political and economic future of the country, particularly in relation to the election, drafting a new constitution and the economy. The paper will argue that Egypt’s new government will have to take effective measures to revitalize the private sector as an engine of growth and restore confidence in the economy to attract foreign investment. The paper concludes that if such objectives to be achieved, Egypt will need to ensure that political reforms have to go hand-in-hand with economic development and that the triangle of the development process – economic, political and social – is constantly enforced by all political, economic and social forces. >> download the paper

Paper 3: What Tunisia’s Revolution Tells us about Perceptions of Corruption
Hannes Baumann, PhD candidate, King’s College London

Prior to the fall of President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, Tunisian economic management received gushing reviews. The IMF and World Bank praised Ben Ali’s liberalising policies since 1987. The economy, manufacturing, and living standards all grew faster than in other non-oil Arab states. The president and the Trabelsi clan of his wife enriched themselves on the back of the country’s business success. Ben Ali’s corruption was an integral part of the ruler’s autocratic upgrading, which had been sanctioned by the West. The puzzle to be addressed in this paper is why this corruption was perceived as non-problematic by respondents to surveys such as the Transparency International corruption perception index. The paper thus uses the case study of Tunisia to contribute to the debate about the usefulness and the limitations of such indices. Corruption perception indices were successful at mapping long-term trends in Tunisian corruption, but the very notion of corruption requires a more nuanced and a more political definition than these indices can provide. >> download the paper

These are abridged versions of the abstracts submitted by  the presenters.

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