Arab Development Denied

I have covered many critical assessments of development on this blog. However, comparatively few have covered the Middle East and North Africa region. Was pleased to come across "Arab Development Denied: Dynamics of Accumulation by Wars of Encroachment" by Ali Kadri (2015). The region has had diverse historical and contemporary experiences and I found several parts of the book generalized experiences to the "Arab World", which are questionable when one looks into the specifics of countries. The book could have better engaged the heterogeneity of the region. Similarly, the book could have been more empirically grounded, particularly claims of the more recent years for which there is a lot of data. Nonetheless, this is an interesting read, a few notes:

"De-development should not be confused with relative underdevelopment vis-à-vis Western formations or with a delinking of developing formations from the global accumulation process. De-development is the purposeful deconstruction of developing entities. Primarily, it involves stripping by force the working classes in those entities of the right to own and control their resources and use them for their own benefit." (p. 2-3)

"Ever since the rise in oil prices in 2002, all Arab countries, of which the majority are oil producing, have registered steadily positive growth rates of around five percent. However, this 'growth' was hollow and degenerative, like the swelling in the bellies of malnourished people. In point of fact, the uprisings erupted when Syria, Tunisia, Yemen, Libya and Egypt were enjoying record real-growth rates. The chapter criticises existing policies and concludes that in the AW, the resource curse is the curse of the imperialist assault sustained by the Arab working classes, and that an examination into the re-empowerment of the working class within the political process is required." (p. 19)

"For the time being, it appears structurally prohibitive to abandon oil dependency—to 'kick the oil habit'. Persistent dependence on oil is not haphazard; it is defined and reproduced by a consortium of Arab ruling classes and US-headed imperial powers. Assuming that development were to occur, the effects of Arab development on the sway of forces that thrive on accumulation by encroachment and militarism would be significant. This is a war region, in which the state of conflict itself is an input into global accumulation and that the world has come to internalise as a necessity." (p 31)

"The usual sermon-like policy of the WB/IMF is to liberalise, increase the effectiveness of labour, and improve technology… Given such unrealistic assumptions, these formulaic policy measures are tantamount to obfuscation." (p. 43)

"When so many resources escape and imports represent on average around 50 per cent of GDP (2011 figures), the multiplier theory, according to which one dollar multiplies several-fold in the economy, founders. Capital inflows are channelled into raising consumption, especially on the luxury goods of the merchant class as it emulates its foreign counterpart either directly or indirectly by shifting resources away from investment." (p. 43)

"Poor performance associated with imperialist assault is not related to Arab oil perse; it is a much broader social phenomenon prevailing wherever imperialism strives for primary-product control by aggressive means. To resolve the debacle, socially, politically and historically specific mediations between capital and labour need to be assessed. WB/IMF policy has (deliberately) overlooked the obvious, which is the ties of Arab merchant classes to US-led imperialism and the war context." (p. 46) 

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