Neoliberalism in Egypt

Aljazeera has a very informative and well written article: I’m impressed by the weight of thinking behind it, even if I disagree. Dr. Armbrust concludes that neoliberalism would be bad for Egypt, using the following definition of neoliberalism:

a theory of political economic practices that proposes that human well-being can best be advanced by liberating individual entrepreneurial freedoms and skills within an institutional framework characterised by strong private property rights, free markets, and free trade

The good doctor then goes on to chronicle the problems which, to my mind, are indeed serious problems. But the problems don’t come from property rights, free markets, or free trade – they come from crony capitalism and a technocratic approach to governance.

I’ll give him this: attempts to transition to modern “neoliberal” societies have not gone smoothly. But the difficulties of transition don’t negate the goals. And as difficult as it may be, what’s the alternative?

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