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Argent de l'Etat et politique: La sortie difficile de l'État rentier en Égypte sous Moubarak : La sortie difficile de l'Etat rentier en Egypte sous Moubarek

Abstract : This book is a political economy study that tackles the relationship between public finance and politics in Egypt during the period 1981-2003. It analyzes how the authoritarian regime of Hosni Moubarak has adapted to its fiscal crisis and how this crisis has affected the relationships between state and society and between the different parts and levels of the state. Political economy studies on Egypt have maintained that the reproduction of authoritarianism in this country has mainly been achieved through state control of huge economic resources. The rentier type of the Egyptian state ¬¬– its dependence on non-fiscal resources like foreign aid, workers' remittances, oil, and Suez Canal tolls – has made possible the successful survival of authoritarian politics. Economic rent has given the regime the possibility to buy off the population's political passivity and to avoid having recourse to taxing economic actors. However, the decline of the rentier elements of the Egyptian state and its mounting fiscal crisis haven't destabilized the regime.
This study explains how the fiscal crisis has transformed the distribution of resources within the state. The transformation is dealt with on three levels: the ministerial, the central/local, and the regional. The 1990s witnessed a declining share of some institutions like the ministries of Defense and of Supply and a rising share of the ministries of Interior, Culture, Education and Religious affairs. This transformation is explained by the necessities of responding to the political challenges facing the regime. During the same period, the central state apparatus increased its share of public resources at the expanse of the local administrations, but at the price of reducing the functions these local administrations have to fulfill and by giving some de facto freedom to local units to mobilize resources from the population. Thus, during the 1990s, the regime tended to increase Upper-Egypt's share of public resources in order to combat the rise of the armed Islamic movement in this region. This tendency has been, however, defeated by the persistence of the centralized bias imbedded in state institutions, in particular those institutions created by the Nasser regime and kept in place by Sadat and Mubarak.
The book argues that the Egyptian state is undergoing a process of 'normalization' in which 'normal' fiscal revenues will replace exceptional rentier revenues. Strategies of increasing the tax burden without enhancing the political resistance of social groups are analyzed. The study explains why the "no taxation without representation" demand was not raised against the authoritarian regime and why the Egyptian population has been subjected to the paradox of "more taxation and less representation". The role played by the judiciary in solving political crises (what could be called the 'judiciarization' of politics) is emphasized to explain this paradox.
This study argues that the endurance of the authoritarian regime despite the decline of its rentier revenues can be explained by two factors: first, the fiscal crisis was interrupted by a period of extraordinary influx of rentier resources (1990-1994); second, the regime's survival strategy of "institutional stagnation" and "fragmented adaptation" has been successful in inhibiting political aggregations of economic and social demands. The regime has been firm on maintaining the formal institutional configuration of the state intact and at the same time it has adapted to the fiscal crisis with fragmented and informal institutional arrangements. Egyptian politics is thus undergoing a certain change. This change is, however, very slow, fragmented and not easily visible.
The Egyptian case is one of the success of a regime and the failure of a state. The regime has succeeded since it has reproduced itself. But the state has failed because it is unable to facilitate capitalist development in the country. This book tries to show how the success of the regime has produced the failure of the state in Egypt.
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Samer Soliman. Argent de l'Etat et politique: La sortie difficile de l'État rentier en Égypte sous Moubarak : La sortie difficile de l'Etat rentier en Egypte sous Moubarek. Economies et finances. Institut d'études politiques de paris - Sciences Po, 2004. Français. ⟨tel-00417309⟩

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