International Finance and the Third World

by Jeff Frieden
published in MER117

The foreign debt of the less developed countries (LDCs) of the Third World now stands at around $600 billion. More than half of this—about $350 billion—is owed to private international banks. Events like the strikes and demonstrations in Brazil this summer, or the labor unrest that triggered the military coup in Turkey in 1980, demonstrate the critical relationship of the foreign bank debt to political developments within the LDCs themselves. The crisis, however, is not confined to the debtor countries alone.

Poverty Mapping

Geneaology of a Term

by Mona Atia
published in MER272

At the spring 2013 meetings, World Bank President Jim Young Kim set 2030 as the target date for eradicating extreme poverty, defined as subsistence on less than $1.25 per day, across the globe. In line with this goal, the United Nations created a New Global Partnership to lift the 1.2 billion poorest people out of penury in the same time frame. The New Global Partnership or Post-2015 Development Agenda replaces the eight Millennium Development Goals declared in 2000 and calls for a “data revolution” that demands development goals be based on internationally compatible measures.

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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?

Turner, Capitalism and Class in the Middle East

by Danny Reachard
published in MER141


Bryan S. Turner, Capitalism and Class in the Middle East: Theories of Social Change and Economic Development (Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press, 1984).


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Chilcote and Johnson, Theories of Development

by Karen Pfeifer
published in MER147

Ronald H. Chilcote and Dale L. Johnson, eds., Theories of Development, Mode of Production or Dependency? (Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications, 1983).

This is volume two of Sage’s series in “Class, State and Development,” and the answer to the question posed in the title of the book is “both.” That is, the editors take the position that the transformation of societies in Asia, Africa and Latin America is the dialectical product of the interaction between the indigenous evolution of classes and state institutions within these societies, on the one hand, and their integration on subordinate terms into the world capitalist economy, on the other hand. The lack of dogmatism is refreshing.

Rescheduling the Camp David Debt

by Joe Stork
published in MER147

Egypt’s current debt crisis is one of the fruits of Camp David. Much of the principal and interest now in arrears or coming due was contracted in the heady days when oil prices were soaring and the treaty with Israel and military alliance with Washington certified Egypt as a credit-worthy customer for Western banks and governments. The United States in particular stepped up its economic and military lending to Cairo.

Bush and Ayeb, Marginality and Exclusion in Egypt

by Mona Atia
published in MER265

Ray Bush and Habib Ayeb, eds. Marginality and Exclusion in Egypt (London: Zed Books, 2012).

Marginality and Exclusion in Egypt is an insightful volume addressing the various forms of inequality that plague Egyptian society, with particular focus on the poor and working classes. With few exceptions, the chapters have a strong structuralist undertone; many use a political economy approach to describe class conflict. The volume’s title notwithstanding, most chapters treat the concepts of marginality and exclusion as afterthoughts, and only a few grapple with marginality as a theory.

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Health as a Social Construction

The Debate in the Occupied Territories

by Rita Giacaman
published in MER161

Three basic theoretical formulations frame the state of the health debate among Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. The biomedical/clinical framework is generally espoused by the majority of the medical and allied health care establishment, most of whom have been trained in the Western medical tradition. This biomedical framework views disease as a malfunction of systems and organs that can be corrected by technical intervention on the part of qualified health care providers. By this conception, medical care and healing occur almost solely within the limits of the clinic, the hospital, the laboratory and the pharmacy. Causal relationships are clear-cut and unidimensional. [1]

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Political Aspects of Health

by Joe Stork
published in MER161

Health, along with food and shelter, is a fundamental element of every person's life. If we are in good health we may take it for granted, but when our health is bad -- when we are ill or injured -- it becomes central to our lives.

America's Egypt

Discourse of the Development Industry

by Timothy Mitchell
published in MER169

Open almost any study of Egypt produced by an American or an international development agency and you are likely to find it starting with the same simple image. The question of Egypt’s economic development is almost invariably introduced as a problem of geography versus demography, pictured by describing the narrow valley of the Nile River, surrounded by desert, crowded with rapidly multiplying millions of inhabitants.

A 1980 World Bank report on Egypt provides a typical example. “The geographical and demographic characteristics of Egypt delineate its basic economic problem,” the book begins: