After the Spring Economic Transitions in the Arab World.

After the Spring Economic Transitions in the Arab World

 

The Arab Spring constitutes the most far-reaching political and economic transition since the end of communism in Europe. For too long, the economic aspirations of the people in the region, especially young people, have been ignored by the leaders in Arab countries and abroad. Competing views as to how best to meet these aspirations are now being debated in the region. The outcome will shape Arab societies for generations to come.
The authors of this book argue that they are underway. Although each country has a different economic structure and history and must make its own way forward, there are spill-overs from trade and investment linkages, the contagion of the news cycles, that are too great to ignore. Some common foundation of the new Arab economies is needed. Towards that end, this volume addresses. First, with two-thirds of the population under the age of 30, the disproportionate burdens of unemployment and poor education can no longer be heaped on youth. Second, while some government policies may have improved the living standards of Arab citizens in the past, they have also entrenched cronies, enriched a small elite, and become unaffordable. Third, if Arab economies are to compete in the 21st century, they can not depend solely on oil and gas money, remittances, and tourism, but will require active, independent private sectors. And finally, the relative isolation of the Arab economies – both from each other and from the world – must end.
Rather than providing specific lists of recommendations, this book sets forth the set of guidelines and priorities for reformers who will begin creating new opportunities for youth, rebuilding the institutions of the state, diversifying the private sector, and cooperating with each other and integrating with the world economy.

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After the Arab Spring – Democratic Aspirations and State Failure.

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Learn why the hope and excitement of the Arab Spring are gone, why so many Arab states are falling apart, why the youth are so frustrated, why there are so many refugees, and what can be done about it.

The so-called Arab Spring appeared to end decades of exceptionalism and bring the Arab world back into the mainstream of global developments. The rebellions promised the return of politics and the reassertion of popular sovereignty against their corrupt and geriatric leaders. Much hope and flowery language greeted the young men and women who deposed their leaders and tried to build new, better societies.

Today, the Arab world is in deep crisis. Of the 22 member states of the Arab League, at least five have essentially collapsed: Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Syria exist only in name today, as their territories have fallen to competing, murderous armed groups. In the remaining countries, the old autocracies have reasserted themselves. The repression at home is now worsened by regional conflict on an unprecedented scale, and the resulting frustration has led to the biggest refugee flows in recent memory. What went wrong?

This course offers an overview of the structural shortcomings of Arab states and societies, which help us understand why the democratic awakening did not happen but instead “has given way to civil wars, ethnic, sectarian and regional divisions and the reassertion of absolutism.” This raises the obvious and renewed question whether there is something inherent in the Arab, and by analogy Muslim, condition that makes them special. Does this condition make this part of the world impervious to generally observable trends towards greater accountability, popular participation in political decision-making, greater generation and fairer division of economic wealth? Join this course to find out!