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Liberal Economic Reforms and the Rise of Crony Capitalism in the MENA Region

Received: 3 September 2022    Accepted: 25 October 2022    Published: 8 December 2022
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Abstract

This article examines how the economic liberalisation in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region created a ripe climate for crony capitalism. The incomplete character of the neoliberal program that was encouraged by Western governments and international financial institutions in the 1990s resulted in selective liberalisation and allowed for the tightening of state-business relations. The implementation of the liberal economic agenda facilitated the takeover of state resources and privileged access to the domestic market by dominant political-economic coalitions and produced a novel regime whereby hopes of a plural political system and a de-regulated free market were replaced with a version of Arab ‘crony capitalism’. The evolvement of this phenomenon is analysed and explained by appealing to the example of economic reforms that took place in Egypt and Tunisia, two countries which, between the 1990s and 2010s, were hailed as success stories of the neoliberal reforms in the Arab World. Although the façade of the countries' respective economies became apparent as de-regulated, new reforms became a powerful instrument for the foundation of a novel network of preferential beneficiaries leading to the reshuffling of alliances among the country's major players. The overarching argument of this paper is that liberalisation efforts in Egypt in Tunisia, rather than eradicating distributional coalitions, have merely rearranged them by reshuffling the existing alliance among the countries' major players.

Published in Journal of Political Science and International Relations (Volume 5, Issue 4)
DOI 10.11648/j.jpsir.20220504.15
Page(s) 127-132
Creative Commons

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, provided the original work is properly cited.

Copyright

Copyright © The Author(s), 2024. Published by Science Publishing Group

Keywords

Neoliberal Reform, Economic Liberalization, Crony Capitalism, International Monetary Fund

References
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    Natalia Gierowska. (2022). Liberal Economic Reforms and the Rise of Crony Capitalism in the MENA Region. Journal of Political Science and International Relations, 5(4), 127-132. https://doi.org/10.11648/j.jpsir.20220504.15

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    Natalia Gierowska. Liberal Economic Reforms and the Rise of Crony Capitalism in the MENA Region. J. Polit. Sci. Int. Relat. 2022, 5(4), 127-132. doi: 10.11648/j.jpsir.20220504.15

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    AMA Style

    Natalia Gierowska. Liberal Economic Reforms and the Rise of Crony Capitalism in the MENA Region. J Polit Sci Int Relat. 2022;5(4):127-132. doi: 10.11648/j.jpsir.20220504.15

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  • @article{10.11648/j.jpsir.20220504.15,
      author = {Natalia Gierowska},
      title = {Liberal Economic Reforms and the Rise of Crony Capitalism in the MENA Region},
      journal = {Journal of Political Science and International Relations},
      volume = {5},
      number = {4},
      pages = {127-132},
      doi = {10.11648/j.jpsir.20220504.15},
      url = {https://doi.org/10.11648/j.jpsir.20220504.15},
      eprint = {https://article.sciencepublishinggroup.com/pdf/10.11648.j.jpsir.20220504.15},
      abstract = {This article examines how the economic liberalisation in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region created a ripe climate for crony capitalism. The incomplete character of the neoliberal program that was encouraged by Western governments and international financial institutions in the 1990s resulted in selective liberalisation and allowed for the tightening of state-business relations. The implementation of the liberal economic agenda facilitated the takeover of state resources and privileged access to the domestic market by dominant political-economic coalitions and produced a novel regime whereby hopes of a plural political system and a de-regulated free market were replaced with a version of Arab ‘crony capitalism’. The evolvement of this phenomenon is analysed and explained by appealing to the example of economic reforms that took place in Egypt and Tunisia, two countries which, between the 1990s and 2010s, were hailed as success stories of the neoliberal reforms in the Arab World. Although the façade of the countries' respective economies became apparent as de-regulated, new reforms became a powerful instrument for the foundation of a novel network of preferential beneficiaries leading to the reshuffling of alliances among the country's major players. The overarching argument of this paper is that liberalisation efforts in Egypt in Tunisia, rather than eradicating distributional coalitions, have merely rearranged them by reshuffling the existing alliance among the countries' major players.},
     year = {2022}
    }
    

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    T2  - Journal of Political Science and International Relations
    JF  - Journal of Political Science and International Relations
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    AB  - This article examines how the economic liberalisation in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region created a ripe climate for crony capitalism. The incomplete character of the neoliberal program that was encouraged by Western governments and international financial institutions in the 1990s resulted in selective liberalisation and allowed for the tightening of state-business relations. The implementation of the liberal economic agenda facilitated the takeover of state resources and privileged access to the domestic market by dominant political-economic coalitions and produced a novel regime whereby hopes of a plural political system and a de-regulated free market were replaced with a version of Arab ‘crony capitalism’. The evolvement of this phenomenon is analysed and explained by appealing to the example of economic reforms that took place in Egypt and Tunisia, two countries which, between the 1990s and 2010s, were hailed as success stories of the neoliberal reforms in the Arab World. Although the façade of the countries' respective economies became apparent as de-regulated, new reforms became a powerful instrument for the foundation of a novel network of preferential beneficiaries leading to the reshuffling of alliances among the country's major players. The overarching argument of this paper is that liberalisation efforts in Egypt in Tunisia, rather than eradicating distributional coalitions, have merely rearranged them by reshuffling the existing alliance among the countries' major players.
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Author Information
  • Faculty of Social Science and Public Policy, King’s College London, London, UK

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