Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Second Department

Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE)

Reader 1

Hicham Bou Nassif

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Rights Information

2020 Gabriel Z Gluskin-Braun


This analysis explores the unique and tumultuous approach to reform in Egypt and addresses

the effects of the implementation of neoliberal policy tools. These tools included privatization, price

liberalization, deregulation, and land reform in both urban and rural areas. Based on these effects, this

analysis will argue that the benefits accrued by the political-economic elite created opportunities for

new patronage networks that upheld elite economic privilege through the process of liberalization

while a wide swath of Egyptians suffered the loss of limited privileges and protections from the state

established by Nasr and upheld by his successors. Consequently, the socialist-statist ‘social contract’

underlying the legitimacy of successive regimes crumbled as the withdrawal of state support for

industry, agriculture, and services thrust more and more Egyptians into poverty and economic

insecurity, and the failure of a healthy private sector to materialize exacerbated unemployment. The

promise of modernization and economic prosperity via the path of neoliberal reform contrasted

significantly with the reality of concentrated gains captured by few while urban workers, small farmers,

and public sector employees lost their economic security and state supports.

These developments which began during the time of Anwar Sadat and peaked under the rule of Hosni

Mubarak, eroded public quiescence and tolerance of a corrupt and increasingly detached regime,

undercut legitimacy and fomented revolution. The domestic conditions of impending succession from Hosni to Gamal Mubarak combined with declining economic conditions fed off the Tunisian revolution to mobilize the related grievances of Egyptians to demand change.