We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Monday, April 30, 2012

The Egyptian Revolution and Neo-Liberal Economics

Click here to access transcript from Real News.
Since early 2012, international financial institutions have been negotiating loans for what they say will help rebuild Egypt’s ailing economy. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, [also called the EBRD], is awaiting approval from its shareholders to provide $1.5bn in annual loans to Egypt. This will be the first time since its establishment that the EBRD has lent to the Middle East. On February 2012, the EBRD published its technical assessment of the country, recommending the continuation of more than 20 years of privatization policies.

Egypt has received more in US aid more than any other country except Israel in the past 35 years. (Total of $28 billion.) Most, of course, has been military "aid" tied to business with the US military-industrial complex. But, there has also been substantial non-military aid, but clearly this has ended up benefiting the Egyptian oligarchy to insure their support of privatization policies, which, in turn, has resulted in the concentration of wealth and power. 

The Egyptian uprising last year succeeded in removing Mubarak, but it is clear that the problem was not Mubarak. It was and remains the close ties of a concentrated wealthy Egyptian elite with US imperial interests. It appears that many Egyptians are connecting the dots.