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The Middle East has traditionally been important for the world economy. The Middle East situation today has an impact on all aspects of life in America and much of the world.

Only by understanding the motivations of the various factions in the Middle East can we hope to understand how to promote peace and national security for Middle Eastern nations, Europe, and the United States.

May 27, 2010

The Negative Consequences of Egypt’s Economic Planning

During the past five decades of my academic career, I have travelled back and forth to my beloved Egypt. During my recent visit (April 2010), I noticed that the changes that have been taking place since the early 1970s have created more negative consequences than positive ones. There has been a steady deterioration in the educational, economic, and political institutions, as well as the environment and the infrastructure of the society at large. Furthermore, the population more than doubled during that period to reach 83 million people and nearly 45% of them are living below the poverty index level. Since the 1952 revolution, the Egyptian society has experienced four economical and political stages that have turned, in some respects, into different cycles of disorganization, especially in economic institutions. High government officials have executed and implemented policies in violation of Egyptian laws. This happened in lieu of transparencies and accountability. Government and public wealth has been dispersed by high government officials for the benefit of the few who were in control of the political arena with no questions asked. During the past four decades, corruption in all governmental institutions has been deep rooted and it is not an easy task to undo. This situation lead to a state of political, economic and social disorganization in Egyptian society.

In an interesting article (al-ahram, 4/30/2010), D.F. Goweda noted a letter written by Professor of Law D.T. Badawi titled, “il-Qanun fi-ijazah” (“The law on vacation), in which he stated that, “… high Egyptian government officials have been executing and implementing policies that are in violation of Egyptian law … disposing of government and public wealth in an irresponsible manner, disregarding legal procedure and threatening Egypt’s future economy.”

Professor T. Badawi noted the impact of the transformation of the Egyptian economy during the previous three decades. A shift from government directed economic model to the free economic model, then a shift to the uncontrollable economic model. This occurred as a result of high government officials ignoring the law and legal procedures in disposing of government public assets without holding government officials accountable for their actions. He further noted that political decisions were implemented as a result of ignorance of the law and legal procedures, despite the fact that such information was available to them. The other factor is that since political decisions were made, disregarding legal procedures is attributed to corruption.

There is no doubt that corruption is deep rooted and at all levels of government. May the almighty have mercy on the Egyptian population in general, who are suffering as a result of their corrupt political system.

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