Date of Submission
Open Access Senior Thesis
Bachelor of Arts
Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE)
Hicham Bou Nassif
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.
Gluskin-Braun, Gabriel, "Policies and Politics of Reform : The Governmentality of Structural Adjustment in Urban and Rural Egypt" (2020). CMC Senior Theses. 2436.