Institutions and Economic, Political, and Civil Liberty in the Arab World: The Prospect for Economic Reform in the Wake of the Arab Spring
by Fred McMahon
July 22, 2014
A denial of economic freedom led to the Arab Spring – protests began when a fruit-and-vegetable seller set himself on fire to protest the bureaucratic police bullying he faced nearly every day in the market. Yet despite its origin, little economic thought has emerged in the wake of the Arab Spring. Without economic change, there can be no lasting political change – the preservation of an old economic structure does not translate into new outcomes on growth and equality. The Arab world was cushioned from the economic necessity that ultimately led to market reforms in most corners of the world. Rent-seeking elites and a socially ingrained reliance on government still stand in the way of genuine economic reform.