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A Bit More on Egypt

February 11, 2011

Two quick comments

Firstly, are we seeing splits between Mubarak and the army emerging?  The messages from the army seemed to be that Mubarak is going and then he says that he’s not going.  This may mean a shift in the political opportunity structure that the protesters are operating in.

Secondly,  at Foreign Affairs Robert Zaretsky invokes Fernand Braudel in relation to the Egyptian situation.  Possibly he is overdoing it a bit but I think the message of looking beyond short term events to the underlying and more enduring structures is correct.  Even if Mubarak goes the basic political economy of the regime will remain.  The army is just as tied into this system as the ruling party is.  You are looking at an embedded system of crony capitalism supported by subsidies that support the poor. A lot of people have an interest in this system.

[From a more theoretical point of view although Braudel emphasizes the persistence of soci0economic structures he also recognizes the impact of evolving communication technologies in reshaping those structures, running through his work  is a concern with space which makes him extremely sensitive to the interaction between communications and the economic networks that sustain the ‘deep’ structures]

 

 

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