Iran's Economy

Between Crisis and Collapse

by Patrick Clawson
published in MER98

Workers, bazaar merchants and artisans, farmers, salaried officials and professionals -- all expected that the departure of the Shah would mean better economic conditions for themselves and the Iranian people. At the very least, funds that had been diverted into corruption or used to purchase expensive and extravagant weapons systems and showcase projects would be made available to meet real needs. As things now stand, the government of the Islamic Republic faces considerable popular dissatisfaction because these expectations have not been fulfilled, and the standard of living of many Iranians has, in fact, fallen since the revolution.

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The Arab Economies in the 1970s

by Roger Owen
published in MER100-101

The 1970s were undoubtedly the most dramatic and important years in recent Middle Eastern history. The decade began politically with the death of Nasser, the formal withdrawal of the British from the Gulf and the first sharp increase in the price of oil. Oil -- its production and marketing, its revenues, its social impact -- was at the center of the economic transformation of the region. By the end of the decade, most Arab oil regimes (with the exception of Saudi Arabia) had nationalized their reserves and producing facilities and taken formal control of pricing and rates of production. Huge sums of money accrued to the major oil exporters, encouraging mammoth infrastructural investment and equally massive labor migration to the Gulf states and Libya.

Center-Periphery Relations in Morocco

by David McMurray
published in MER272

In Nador, a regional capital located on the Mediterranean Sea at the eastern end of the Rif Mountains in Morocco, coffee shop talk often turns to the relationship with the capital city, Rabat, a five-hour car ride or a nine-hour train or bus ride to the west. Nadoris are sensitive about their status as residents of an underserved province that they believe the government disdains. But recent, locally driven economic development is also a source of pride for the region.

Small Farmer Uprisings and Rural Neglect in Egypt and Tunisia

by Habib Ayeb , Ray Bush
published in MER272

“We should make it up to the peasants,” Muhsin al-Batran, erstwhile head of the economic affairs unit in Egypt’s Ministry of Agriculture, told the official daily al-Ahram two months after the toppling of Husni Mubarak in 2011. “Make it up” -- why? And what is it that needs to be made up?

Winter of Discontent

Economic Crisis in Tunisia and Morocco

by David Seddon
published in MER127

Nineteen eighty-four began in a bloody fashion in the Maghreb. Violent demonstrations erupted in the impoverished southwest and south of Tunisia at the very end of December and spread throughout the country during the first week of January. These followed the Tunisian government’s introduction of measures to remove food subsidies. Bread prices suddenly doubled.

States of Emergency

The Riots in Tunisia and Morocco

by James Paul
published in MER127

A crisis had been building in Tunisia for many months. By the end of 1983, the economy was in serious trouble, support-for the regime had been eroding and the International Monetary Fund had proposed austerity measures. Within the government, corruption and personal luxury were rampant. President-for-life Habib Bourghiba was intent on preparations for a lavish celebration of the 50th anniversary of the ruling Destourian Socialist Party, while ministers vied with each other over the succession to the 81-year-old leader.

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Davis, Challenging Colonialism

by Fred H. Lawson
published in MER129

Eric Davis, Challenging Colonialism: Bank Misr and Egyptian Industrialization, 1920-1941 (Princeton: Princeton University Press,

1983).

Eric Davis intends his study to answer a wide range of questions concerning capitalism and industrialization in the Middle East. Two issues in particular are central to his analysis: “what were the social forces behind the formation of the Bank Misr” and “why did the bank experience a period of rapid economic growth only to later face financial collapse?” (p. 5)

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Under-the-Radar Palestinian Connections

by Raja Khalidi | published June 24, 2014 - 2:02pm

With intensity unknown since the second intifada and at a daily cost of $12 million to the Hebron economy alone, Israel is cracking down on the West Bank in its search for three missing Israeli settler youth. The result is a growing Palestinian chorus: Stop Israeli-Palestinian “security coordination.”

Death and Taxes

by Amanda Ufheil-Somers | published April 15, 2014 - 1:25pm

Last year 27 cents of every income tax dollar in the United States went to the military. Even so, that proportion has not generated enough revenue to pay for the military’s operations over the last 13 years, which, in a historic departure, have been funded largely by borrowing.

Syria's Drought and the Rise of a War Economy

by Omar S. Dahi | published April 14, 2014 - 11:19am

The grinding war in Syria brings new horrors with every passing week. The death toll and the number of displaced people continue to soar, as more areas of the country are reduced to rubble. This month, two additional issues with dire long-term consequences have been gaining attention: the possible drought affecting the northwest and the entrenchment of a war economy.