Global Economic Integration

The Missing Middle East

by Doug Henwood
published in MER184

Conventional definitions imagine world trade as taking places among nations -- international trade, it is called. Convention also holds that everyone is best off when such trade is carried on as freely as possible. Neither the definition nor the polemic of free traders has changed much, except for a pseudo-scientific overlay of mathematics, since David Ricardo laid it out in 1817. But the world has changed some in the last 176 years.

Chips and satellites are part of that change, of course, but so is the spread of a social institution, the multinational corporation. Some figures from a 1992 World Bank report make this point well. After noting that multinationals had shifted “labor-intensive stages of production” to Third World states, the report continued:

A New Post-Cold War System?

The Middle East in a Realigned World

by Roger Owen
published in MER184

There was a short period, just after the collapse of the Soviet Union, when the shape of the emerging post-Cold war system seemed quite clear. The disintegration of the Eastern Bloc would be complemented by further economic and political integration of Western Europe according to the Maastricht Treaty timetable. Other new blocs, like the North American Free Trade Area, were in the making. The whole system was to be regulated by a US-dominated order based on such international institutions as the UN Security Council, the World Bank and a revised General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).

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From the Editors

published in MER184

In this issue we consider “new orders” in several senses -- orders of hierarchy, orders of magnitude and marching orders. Ray Hinnebusch succinctly notes the underlying theme: the struggle of capital to dominate labor, internationally via the IMF’s “liberalization” leverage and locally (in this case, the Egyptian countryside) via the regime’s deference to the interests of Egypt’s propertied classes.

An Interview with Charles Shammas

by Joe Stork
published in MER186

Charles Shammas is the founder and project director of Mattin, an industry promotion organization in the West Bank. He is also a founding member of al-Haq, a leading Palestinian human rights organization, and of the Jerusalem-based Center for International Human Rights Enforcement. Joe Stork spoke with him in late October 1993.

I’ve detected a lot of pessimism here about the way things have been developing since the Oslo accords were announced.

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From the Editors

published in MER190

The question of population and development needs to be framed first and foremost as a question of equity. The articles in this issue address explicitly the matter of gender equity in families and societies, in ways that challenge the notion that Middle Eastern birth and fertility rates can be neatly attributed to Islam and Muslim cultures. Beyond this, we insist that the underlying theme is resource equity. As Philippe Fargues notes, the so-called demographic crisis in many Middle Eastern societies today is a social crisis, arising from the demand for more equitable access to jobs, schooling, housing and health care.

Politics in the Middle East

by Gabriel Piterberg
published in MER191

Elie Kedourie, Politics in the Middle East (New York: Oxford, 1992).

Roger Owen, State, Power and Politics in the Making of the Modern Middle East (London: Routledge, 1992).

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"Tilt but Don't Spill"

Iran's Development and Reconstruction Dilemma

by Kaveh Ehsani
published in MER191

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The Saudis, the French and the Embargo

by Fareed Mohamedi , Roger Diwan
published in MER193

The successful maintenance of a near total embargo on Iraq owes to a number of factors, ranging from geography to post-Cold War global economies. Iraq’s limited access to the sea can be easily monitored, while its record of regional aggression has deprived Baghdad of local friends. Despite some breaches of the export embargo involving high-ranking officials in both countries, Iran is not going to give Iraq much economic relief. The same goes for Syria. Turkey and Jordan, Iraq’s two lifelines to the outside world, cannot risk more than limited and calibrated breaches of the embargo because of their own susceptibility to US pressures.

From Zionism to Capitalism

The Political Economy of Israel's Decolonization of the Occupied Territories

by Yoav Peled
published in MER194

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Categories of Power

by Joel Beinin
published in MER196

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