published in MER174

“America’s Egypt”: A Flawed Critique

Tim Mitchell’s article “America’s Egypt” (MER 169) offers a sweeping critique of USAID, World Bank and other development agencies’ perspectives on and programs for Egyptian agriculture. Although he makes a number of interesting and useful points, his analysis of recent Egyptian agricultural changes is seriously deficient, and cannot withstand serious scrutiny. Mitchell is a political scientist, but his political arguments are equally suspect. His own (and much other) evidence belies his claim that development agencies are unconscious of their political role in Egypt, and throughout the article he adopts what amounts to an instrumentalist view of state action.

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