World Bulletin/News Desk
In a recent article titled “The World According to Beblawi,” Joshua Stacher assesses the interim presidency, that was granted to Hazem Al Beblawi following the military’s ousting of Egypt’s elected president Morsi, by weighing the economic theories of Beblawi on the “rentier state” in the context of the funding given to post-coup Egypt by the Gulf monarchies
In the analysis of “rentier state” theories and the current funding by Gulf monarchies, Stacher explores what he considers to be the irony of how “An early proponent of rentier state theory [Egypt’s Beblawi] is overseeing a rentier economy with international partners floating on rents of their own and willing to use them to “stabilize” Egypt.”
He expresses concern at how the Gulf states in which the regimes are rewarded for rule through the “handouts” of oil and gas rents are now “rewarding Egypt’s coupmasters in the same way.”
Even though Egypt’s state-run media is trying to portray Beblawi as a leader who will choose his cabinet based on merit, rather than as a compliant instrument, his scholarly publications on the “rentier state” for which he was previously known cast doubt on his being a solution for Egyptian democracies problems.
Beblawi’s works define “rentier state” as wealthy governments who rely on “rents” rather than taxes and are therefore not accountable to the people. Rents generally derive from deposits of natural resources such as oil, but also include foreign aid and tolls on traffic in the Suez Canal in the case of Egypt. Such states are not dependant on taxes and have the wealth to bolster living standards with handouts.
Stacher explains that this produces “a dynamic of ‘no taxation, no representation,’” and that Beblawi’s theories express that “rentier economies are no good at producing democracy.”
Stacher’s analysis therefore looks at developments in Egypt regarding foreign funding and Beblawi’s appointment pessimistically given that the rentier states of the Gulf monarchies has rushed to pledge $12 billion to the interim Egyptian government shortly after the coup against elected president Morsi.
This development is explored in connection to the US aid given to Egypt, much of which is Foreign Military Financing that must be used to purchase arms from American weapons manufacturers, which might be harder to account for after the military coup in the country.
Stacher asks what Beblawi, who also served as finance minister in 2011 under the direct rule of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), will do with the rent. His speculation is once again pessimistic given the Beblawi’s interview in Daily News Egypt prior to Morsi’s ousting in which Beblawi says the Egyptian people must understand the danger of the current size of subsidies, the “canceling of [which] requires sacrifices from the public.”
The article concludes: “It’s not clear, given his scholarly output, that the new premier even believes that Egypt can be a democracy.”
Source: Middle East Research and Information ProjectGüncelleme Tarihi: 12 Temmuz 2013, 13:05