A Critical Political Economy of the Middle East and North Africa
Edited by Joel Beinin, Bassam Haddad, and Sherene Seikaly



Joel Beinin

THIS VOLUME SEEKS TO STIMULATE A BROAD DISCUSSION ON studying the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) using the methods of political economy. Political economy addresses the mutual and historical constitution of states, markets, and classes. Traditionally, class analysis—the historical origins and trajectories of classes, the relations among them, the articulation of local classes with regional and global markets, states and empires, and the institutional, legal, and cultural forms that sustain and situate them in complex social formations—has been the most distinctive form of political economy. Class analysis emphasizes understanding social life through the relations between the producers and expropriators of wealth. It has historically been associated with an ethical/political commitment to radical material equality.

While class has often been the conceptual entry point of political economy, we propose a more expansive understanding of political economy influenced by the concept of overdetermination. In this perspective, causes are simultaneously effects; all events are situated in a relational matrix; all social hierarchies are subject to contestation.1 Analytical categories are neither objective facts nor merely discursive constructions; they may be reconfigured by debates over their meanings and social struggle.

Class is a social relation; one class implies the existence of at least one other class. Capital is a social relation based on the extraction of value from the direct producers of commodities, which capital then sells to realize a profit. In volume 1 of Capital, Karl Marx elaborated an abstract analysis of the dynamics of capitalism. But historical social formations in which capitalist relations of productions predominate are always more complex than this abstraction, as Marx himself acknowledged. Class analysis alone cannot explain everything about social formations; neither can they be adequately understood without it.

The historical development of social formations dominated by capital is inextricably intertwined with genocides, slavery and other forms of unfree labor, racialization, patriarchy, national oppression, and empire. For example, the history of the nineteenth-century English textile industry is organically connected to slavery in the American South, the transformation of large parts of Egypt into zones of cotton monocropping where large landlords dominated peasant sharecroppers or seasonal day laborers, and the soil degradation caused by intensive cotton cultivation. Construction of the two Aswan Dams was partly motivated by the desire to expand cotton cultivation. Those dams wrought ecological damage, the proliferation of schistosomiasis and malaria, the inundation of Nubia, and the migration of Nubians to Cairo and Lower Egypt, where they often became workers in racialized occupational categories.2

The establishment of the Misr Spinning and Weaving Company in al-Mahalla al-Kubra, Egypt, in 1927 entailed not only the transformation of peasants into a new class of mechanized textile production workers and the repositioning of hand loom weavers in the textile industry. Many of these new “workers” still owned or rented agricultural lands. For a generation, at least until the massive strike of 1947, their social identities remained shaped by their villages of origin. Capital also formed ambiguous class fractions like shop floor foremen. As Hanan Hammad’s Industrial Sexuality: Gender, Urbanization, and Social Transformation in Egypt demonstrates, new class and gender relations were co-constituted in both the workplace and wider urban space. Women worked in the factory while entrepreneurial Mahallawiyyat (female city natives) rented rooms to male factory workers who migrated from surrounding villages. Factory life shaped new cultural conceptions of masculinity and forms of urban violence, sexual harassment, child labor, child molestation, and prostitution, and sometimes made homosexuality more visible.3

These examples suggest that merely seeking to revise Marx’s abstract definition of capitalism—a mode of production based on private ownership of the means of production (capital) to produce commodities for exchange in markets and profits derived from exploitation of free wage labor—is unlikely to enhance our understanding of the social world. Capital accumulation by individuals, partnerships, and even contemporary corporations can occur through exploiting many different forms of labor as well as cheap nature. Apple is the largest corporation in the world with a market valuation of some US$1 trillion. Foxconn, the largest employer in China, assembles most of Apple’s iPhones in factories in Shenzhen and other Chinese cities.4 There are good reasons to doubt that Foxconn’s workers are free in the commonly understood sense of the term. But they undoubtedly form a key class in the contemporary capitalist mode of production.

The ambit of political economy also includes the legal, political, and cultural forms of the regulation of regimes of capital accumulation; relations among local, national, and global forms of capital, class, and culture; the social structure of reproduction; the construction of forms of knowledge and hegemony; technopolitics; the environment as both a resource and field of contestation; the role of war in the constitution of states and classes; and practices and cultures of domination and resistance.

Circuits of production, finance, and commodities are often imbedded in ethnic or sectarian networks and intertwined with imperial and patriarchal structures. The confluence of class, sect, and political orientation informed the 1975–90 Lebanese civil war. Classes may emerge from or alongside status groups like tribal shaykhs, sayyids (descendants of the Prophet Muhammad), ‘ulama’ (scholars of Islamic learning), or the effendiyya (those educated in a Western style and employed in professions and modern-style businesses). A status group can become a class.5 In contemporary Lebanon and the Gulf Arab states, domestic workers are commonly migrant Filipinas or South Asians. Their positions as wage workers, as vulnerable women exposed to sexual and other forms of abuse, and as noncitizens are inseparable.

Political economy is not simply the intersection of previously existing disciplinary boundaries (politics and economics). It seeks to critically examine disciplinary, geographic, ethnic, and sectarian boundaries. Those boundaries, many of them constructed from the late nineteenth through the mid-twentieth centuries, obscure social hierarchies, society as a wholistic object of investigation, and the contradictions of the capitalist mode of production. They divide the world into units conducive to imperial rule, encourage construction of romanticized national and communal histories, and establish standards of common sense and normality that criminalize or marginalize ideas, identities, and behaviors that challenge the existing order.

These broad strokes do not prescribe a single “correct” analytical method. We understand political economy as a family of intellectual orientations and research methods and eschew ideological claims that it is “scientific” or “objective.” Its intellectual genealogy includes, but is not limited to Adam Smith, Karl Marx, Rosa Luxemburg, Antonio Gramsci, John Maynard Keynes, Karl Polanyi, the Monthly Review school, Dependency and World-Systems Theory, Black Marxist traditions, the socialist current of second wave feminism, and neo-Marxian currents including the “Regulation School,” “Social Structures of Accumulation,” “Social Reproduction Theory,” ecosocialism, and studies of technopolitics. The authors of this volume embrace the methodological pluralism this genealogy implies.


The best known political economy overviews of the MENA region in English are A Political Economy of the Middle East (henceforth, PEME), originally by Alan Richards and John Waterbury, now in its fourth edition with the addition of Melanie Cammet and Ishac Diwan to the authorial team since the third edition, and Globalization and the Politics of Development in the Middle East (henceforth, GPDME) by Clement M. Henry and Robert Springborg.

PEME originally sought to apply a unified analytical framework to the MENA region based on the mutual interactions among economic growth, state structure and policy, and social classes. Despite some caveats, the authors adopt a positivist stance toward these categories and the statistical data deployed to measure them—regarding them as self-evident rather than subjecting them to critical analysis. All four editions of PEME acknowledge the problems of using GDP as an indicator of economic and social development. They do so nonetheless, arguing that it provides “the most comprehensive available set of statistics on national income” (4th ed., 36–37). The authors offer a cursory and pro forma critique of the notion that per capita GDP is “a crude indicator of average social welfare” (4th ed., 36). But they offer no critique of the concept of “average social welfare,” which has little social meaning. People do not live in average, but rather in highly stratified and unequal, circumstances. Any value derived from referencing widely used statistical categories is undermined by their obscuring much of importance. Moreover, the international financial institutions (IFIs—primarily the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank) that compile this data rely on national statistics, which may be unreliable or even falsified.

For example, an independent “country assistance evaluation” commissioned by the World Bank claimed that Tunisia’s poverty rate declined from 40 percent in 1970 to 4 percent in 2000.6 For comparison, in 2016 the Census Bureau estimated that the poverty rate in the United States was 12.7 percent. So, this claim should have prompted intense scrutiny. A 2010 World Bank Country Brief for Tunisia revised the poverty figure upward and claimed, “Tunisia has made remarkable progress on equitable growth, fighting poverty and achieving good social indicators . . . underscored by a poverty level of 7 percent that is amongst the lowest in the region.”7 In 2015 the World Bank published revised figures indicating that Tunisia’s poverty level was 32.4 percent in 2000 (more than eight times the independent estimate), 23.5 percent in 2005, and 15.5 percent in 2010 (over twice as high as the Country Brief for that year claimed). The poverty figures the World Bank published before 2015 were not simply worthless; they were offered as “evidence” to support economic policies that were not producing the advertised results. A modicum of critical thinking and on-the-ground familiarity with Tunisia could easily have led to this conclusion.

The UN Development Program’s Human Development Index, which was designed “to emphasize that people and their capabilities should be the ultimate criteria for assessing the development of a country, not economic growth alone,” is a better measure than GDP of health, education, and standards of living.8 Since 2002 the UNDP has sponsored six Arab Human Development Reports whose principal contributors are scholars based in the Arab region. The 2003 Arab Human Development Report concluded that poverty in the Arab region is higher than usually reported in the statistics compiled by the IFIs.9 Neither the Human Development Index nor the Arab Human Development Report appear in the first three editions of PEME. The fourth edition briefly mentions health and education indicators based on the Human Development Index (63, 162). These indicators suggest that following the IFI’s policy prescriptions reduced social welfare from 1990 to 2010. The Arab Human Development Reports, which develop that argument in detail, remain unmentioned.

Uncritical reliance on their statistical data is one expression of PEME’s friendly stance toward the policy preferences of the IFIs, despite their manifest failure in all but exceptional cases (Turkey, for a time, in our region). It is more assertively indicated by the replacement of “class” with “social actors” as a category beginning with the second edition. The first volume promisingly defines class in “relational terms” and by “differential property rights” whose “core is . . . access to the means of production” (1st ed., 40), but this terminology is not consistently deployed throughout the text. The elimination of class in the subsequent editions reflects both a deference to the world outlook of the IFIs and perhaps a too hasty conclusion about the irrelevance of Marxian analytical categories in the post–Cold War world. The fourth edition of PEME contains some significant revisions to account for the Arab popular uprisings of 2010–11. But there is no critique of the earlier editions’ failure to spotlight what Cammet and Diwan consider the causes of the uprisings (4th ed., 1–6). And there is no suggestion that the uprisings are an expression of a fundamental structural crisis in the regional modes of capital accumulation and governance.

One strength of Henry and Springborg’s GPDME is its acknowledgment of the lasting impact of colonialism on the MENA region (8–10). It too offers a comprehensive analytical perspective, proposing that “politics drives economic development and that the principal obstacles to development in the region have been political rather than economic or cultural in nature” (15). While this critique of culturalism is commendable, it compartmentalizes politics and economics in precisely the way that we seek to overcome and directs attention to the state and state-centered politics.

The late Nazih Ayubi, an influential theorist of the Arab state, argued that Arab states have weak extractive capacity, institutional strength, and ideological appeal. Therefore, they rule primarily through coercion.10 By the 1990s, this was empirically correct, as the popular uprisings of 2011 (Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Bahrain, Syria, Yemen) and 2019 (Sudan, Algeria, Lebanon, Iraq) highlighted. However, Ayubi’s formulation of the problem as the failure of state hegemony tends to reify the state and extract it from both its domestic social context and the global political economy. It gives insufficient attention to the historical processes through which tribal formations, ethnic groups, military officers, dependent state bourgeoisies, and national liberation movements, which were originally not consolidated as class formations, came to power and either did or did not establish something resembling Antonio Gramsci’s notion of hegemony, or rule by consent. It elides the transition from authoritarian populist regimes—which, even if they deployed coercion against their domestic oppositions (typically Marxists or Islamists) and therefore did not fully consolidate their hegemony, enjoyed considerable popular support and pursued developmentalist economic policies with a significant redistributionist element to more nakedly authoritarian regimes that retreated from redistributionist approaches to national economic development: Egypt from Nasser to Sadat, Mubarak, and Sisi; Syria from the Ba‘th of the 1960s to As‘ad family rule; Tunisia from the first postindependence years to the more intense authoritarianism of the later Bourguiba and Ben Ali eras; and Algeria from Ben Bella to the rule of the shadowy “pouvoir” (power).

Some scholars of the MENA region regard rentier state theory (RST) as an important contribution of scholarship on “their” region to the discipline of political science. RST argues that oil- or mineral-rich states are autocratic because they have no need to tax their citizens to obtain revenue.11 RST also reifies states and detaches them from their local, regional, and international social contexts. The chapters in this volume that address petroleum and petroleum-rich states—Timothy Mitchell on oil (3), Adam Hanieh on the Gulf Cooperation Council countries (5), and Nida Alahmad on Iraq (7)—explicitly reject RST.

One useful point of departure for situating states in rather than in opposition to society is Bertell Ollman’s observation that the state is “the set of institutional forms through which a ruling class expresses its political nature . . . [it] is an essential feature of the class itself.”12 This volume does not propose a unified theory of “the Arab state,” which is not a very promising project. The chapters on the GCC countries and Iraq noted above and by Max Ajl, Bassam Haddad, and Zeinab Abul-Magd on Egypt, Tunisia, and Syria (2), Aaron Jakes and Ahmad Shokr on Egypt (6), Muriam Davis on French North Africa (8), and Ziad M. Abu-Rish on Lebanon (9) differ in their level of abstraction and the balance they propose among global, regional, and local forces. But all are committed to understanding the regional states as inextricably intertwined with local and global markets and classes. They do not suggest that states simply reflect social relations. But neither do they detach the states they examine from the local and transnational social relations that brought them into being and sustain them.

Several chapters of this volume address what appear to be exceptional cases, which the tools of political economy render less exceptional. Shana Marshall’s chapter (4) examines how a particular repressive state apparatus, the military, becomes embedded in the local and global political economy, and in the case of Egypt, comes to be the dominant fraction of the ruling coalition. Joel Beinin’s chapter on the United States and Israel (10) argues that cultural affinity, the power of the Zionist lobby, and a military aid relationship grew into a powerful transnational structure of capital investment, production, and technological development linking the military and homeland security-surveillance industrial complexes and the closely related hi-tech sectors of the two countries. Samia Botmeh’s chapter on Palestine (9) demonstrates how the paradigm of development promoted by the World Bank undermined the projects of state construction and national independence.

GPDME is explicitly framed by the paradigm of “development,” which tends to assume that regions of the global South, if correct policies were adopted, could and should replicate the trajectories of the developed capitalist world. Proponents of development tend to consider it a neutral, technical process that can be successfully realized by any country, regardless of its situation in the global political economy, by applying scientifically established methods. PEME offers mild reservations about this version of development without suggesting an alternative (69).

The development paradigm draws on the liberal political tradition and its linear view of progress and the reform projects initiated in response to the crisis of British and French imperialism in the interwar period. After World War II, development became a discourse—a comprehensive political-economic-ideological program for managing the global South deploying intertwined forms of knowledge, institutions, social practices, and power. In his 1949 Inaugural Address, President Truman denounced “the old imperialism” of Europe and proposed an American-led “program of development” to overcome “underdevelopment,” a term popularized by this speech.13 The promise of development was a central ideological claim valorizing the US empire during the Cold War, as announced in the title of W. W. Rostow’s influential The Stages of Economic Growth: A Non-Communist Manifesto.

In its crudest form, development is coterminous with modernization theory, whose classic expression in Middle East studies is Daniel Lerner’s The Passing of Traditional Society: Modernizing the Middle East. Like Rostow, Lerner adopted a teleological conception of history exemplified by his claim, “What America is . . . the modernizing Middle East seeks to become.”14 Social scientists like Rostow and Lerner, even when they did not directly shape policy, articulated the “common sense” motivating USAID, the Peace Corps, and the facile explanations for the “backwardness” of the MENA region that still appear regularly in the “serious” Anglo-American media. However, the global South was never a passive recipient of development. Development projects required considerable local participation, which inevitably altered the terms of their implementation.15 Until the 1970s, both advocates and critics of development orthodoxy envisioned active roles for states in the process. Since the 1980s, the meaning of development has shifted. It is now associated with the neoliberal market fundamentalism promoted by the IFIs.

Despite their regional perspective, ultimately GPDME and PEME deploy a Weberian methodological nationalism that explains the behavior of states in terms of typologies particular to the region. As the chapters by Timothy Mitchell (3) and Adam Hanieh (5) demonstrate, methodological nationalism is particularly unhelpful in understanding the petroleum industry. It diverts attention from the structural relationships among control of the lion’s share of MENA crude oil production by US multinational firms until the 1970s, post–World War II US hegemony over the noncommunist world, and monarchical rule in the oil-producing states of the Gulf, first and foremost Saudi Arabia. GPDME devotes a few bland sentences to Aramco; PEME mentions Aramco only in passing and treats petroleum primarily in terms of its price. Neither book questions the conventional wisdom regarding the origins and impact of the 1973 oil crisis, as Timothy Mitchell’s chapter in this volume (3) and other substantial works do.16 Nor do they discuss the circulation of post-1973 petrodollars as a lubricant in the transition to the financialized global economy, which they largely accept as a given. They ignore the pioneering work of Fred Halliday and Joe Stork, which, along with more recent books by Robert Vitalis, Adam Hanieh, and Toby Jones that appeared after the publication of GDPME and the first two editions of PEME, offer much more incisive understandings of the political economy of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf and the technopolitics of oil.17 PEME and GPDME understate the transregional connections that would contextualize and challenge the uniqueness of late twentieth- to early twenty-first-century globalization.


Janet Abu-Lughod’s Before European Hegemony: The World System A.D. 1250–1350 poses a powerful alternative to still influential triumphalist accounts of the “European Miracle” as a universal history culminating in Western victory in the Cold War, globalization, and the “end of history.”18 She argues that during the thirteenth to fourteenth centuries, vast regions of Eurasia were integrated by an “archipelago of cities.” The MENA region was the fulcrum of this system, in which no single power exercised hegemony. Commercial and cultural exchanges proliferated and wealth accumulated. China and the Middle East were then economically far stronger than Europe, and China was a more likely candidate for future global hegemony. The archipelago of cities was also the vector for the progress of the Black Death of 1346–53, a major factor in the decline of this system along with the collapse of the Pax Mongolica.

Kenneth Pomeranz’s The Great Divergence: China, Europe, and the Making of the Modern World Economy argues that until 1750–1800, the wealthiest regions of Northwest Europe (England) and China (the lower Yangzi Delta) enjoyed comparable agricultural productivity, consumption, wages, fertility rates, life expectancy, and product and factor markets, and experienced similar shortages of land-intensive products and environmental degradation.19 Plentiful coal deposits located near cities and convenient to water transport and conquest of the Western Hemisphere—not internally generated cultural, institutional, or economic advantages—allowed England and Northwest Europe to transfer their surplus populations and secure access to sugar, timber, cotton, and tobacco that uniquely enabled them to escape the ecological cul-de-sac that previously limited all of Eurasia.

Abu-Lughod and Pomeranz’s work, although not beyond criticism, should caution us against considering the ultimate incorporation of the MENA region into the world capitalist market on a subordinate basis as determined or as a case of delayed development along the trajectory pioneered by Europe. Nonetheless, however much we seek to provincialize Europe and reject its claims to universalism, we must ultimately contend with the two institutions—the capitalist market and the nation-state—which it has largely succeeded in imposing on the rest of humanity, although certainly not in a homogenized or even functionally “successful” manner.


The Ottoman Empire and Europe embarked on extensive territorial expansion about the same time—symbolized by the conquest of Constantinople (1453) and the invasion of the Americas in 1492. By the mid-sixteenth century the Ottoman Empire ruled over Greater Syria, Egypt, Iraq, most of coastal North Africa, the Balkans, and Hungary. But the influx of New World silver weakened the Ottoman currency, and Vasco da Gama’s circumnavigation of Africa broke Muslim dominance of the maritime trade with India.

Nonetheless, Ottoman rule in the MENA region was not a period of cultural or economic stagnation. In inland regions like Jabal Nablus and Mosul, vibrant commercial and market relations flourished independently of Europe.20 Hala Fattah argues that the economies and societies of Iraq, the Arabian Peninsula, and the Gulf “operated on a dynamic that was peculiarly their own, and for a long time held the forces of an expansionist Europe at bay.”21 Even the Mediterranean coastal regions did not passively submit to the emerging world capitalist market. As Kristen Alff’s chapter (1) demonstrates, Beiruti joint-stock companies actively shaped trans-Mediterranean trade while remaining embedded in local social relations and forms of capital accumulation.

The MENA region did succumb to military conquest. The Napoleonic expedition to Egypt (1798), the French invasion of Algeria (1830) and imposition of a protectorate over Tunisia (1881), and the British occupation of Egypt (1882) and imposition of protectorates in the Gulf (1820–92) inaugurated the imperial interventions that gradually reorganized the Ottoman Empire and its environs into polities that became nation-states. European rule relied on local allies, typically large landowners, merchants, or minorities. The profound influence of those relationships on the class structures and political economies of the states that eventually emerged in the twentieth century persists today.


The debate over women wearing the niqab (face veil) in late-nineteenth to early-twentieth-century Egypt illustrates well the intersection of class, gender, and empire. The vast majority of Egyptian women were peasants who could not wear a niqab while working in the fields. The practice was restricted to women of the urban elite. The middle-class pioneers of the Egyptian women’s movement focused their efforts on education and marriage rights, not the niqab. Nabawiyya Musa, the first Egyptian woman to graduate from high school and later the first woman school headmistress, appears in a widely circulated photo without a niqab. But she did not advocate making the niqab a central issue. Malak Hifni Nasif, another prominent women’s educator, opposed unveiling and argued that many of the wealthier women who did so were motivated by attraction to European fashion.

Nonetheless, Qasim Amin’s attack on the niqab in The Liberation of Women (1899) became the centerpiece of the debate—an expression of gender hierarchy and class privilege that persists in many contemporary discussions of this issue. Amin, a French-educated lawyer and the son of an aristocratic Turkish father, accepted much of the colonial-Orientalist characterization of Egyptian women as backward compared to European women. His arguments appear to be primarily motivated by the belief that moderately educated women were the most appropriate companionate marriage partners for “modern” middle-class and elite men and mothers for future nationalist sons.

Amin frequented the intellectual circle around Muhammad ‘Abduh, the modernist chief mufti of Egypt who may even have written the section of The Liberation of Women that argues that shari‘a requires that women wear a hijab (headscarf), but not a niqab. Lord Cromer, the British proconsul in Egypt, supported ‘Abduh’s appointment as chief mufti in 1899, considered him a friend, and regarded ‘Abduh and his circle as “the natural allies of the European reformer.”22 But while Cromer apparently supported Qasim Amin’s limited conception of women’s “liberation,” he was unequivocally a male supremacist at home. In 1909, after returning to Britain under the cloud of the Dinshaway Incident, Cromer became the founding president of the Men’s League for Opposing Woman Suffrage and its successor organization, the National League for Opposing Woman Suffrage.

Huda Sha‘arawi, who was raised in a harem as a member of a wealthy family, is the icon of Egyptian feminism. In 1923, returning from the International Woman Suffrage Alliance Congress in Rome, she and her young protégée, Ceza Nabarawi, disembarked at Cairo Station without their niqabs. Sha‘arawi’s authority, due to her class position and nationalist credentials, quickly and organically made the niqab unfashionable.

Empire and its aftermath remain gendered today. Following the 2001 US assault on Afghanistan, then first lady Laura Bush asserted, “Because of our recent military gains in much of Afghanistan, women are no longer imprisoned in their homes. They can listen to music and teach their daughters without fear of punishment. . . . The fight against terrorism is also a fight for the rights and dignity of women.”23 Contemporary French politics and culture are obsessed with veiled Muslim women. Former president François Hollande opined, if France “can offer the conditions for [a Muslim woman’s] self-fulfillment, she will free herself from her veil and become a French woman, whilst remaining religious, if she wants to be, capable of having an ideal.”24 These are updated versions of imperial feminism—what Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak termed “white men . . . saving brown women from brown men.”25


1. Louis Althusser brought this term into the Marxian tradition in his essay “Contradiction and Overdetermination” in For Marx (New York: Pantheon Books, 1969).

2. Timothy Mitchell, Rule of Experts: Egypt, Techno-Politics, Modernity (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002), 19–53; Jennifer Derr, The Lived Nile: Environment, Disease, and Material Colonial Economy in Egypt (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2019).

3. Hanan Hammad, Industrial Sexuality: Gender, Urbanization, and Social Transformation in Egypt (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2016).

4. Brian Merchant, The One Device: The Secret History of the iPhone (New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2017).

5. Hanna Batatu, The Old Social Classes and the Revolutionary Movements of Iraq: A Study of Iraq’s Old Landed and Commercial Classes and of Its Communists, Baʻthists, and Free Officers (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1978).

6. Fareed M. A. Hassan, Tunisia: Understanding Successful Socioeconomic Development (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2005), ix–x.

7. The 2010 Country Brief has been removed from the World Bank’s website but is quoted in Alex Callinicos, “The Return of the Arab Revolution,” International Socialism, April 1, 2011; World Bank, World Development Indicators, 2015.

8. UNDP, Human Development Index,

9. United Nations Development Programme and Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, Arab Human Development Report 2003 (New York: UN Publications, 2003), 139.

10. Nazih Ayubi, Over-Stating the Arab State: Politics and Society in the Middle East (London: I. B. Tauris, 1995).

11. The term was coined by Hossein Mahdavy, in “The Pattern and Problems of Economic Development in Rentier States: The Case of Iran,” in Studies in the Economic History of the Middle East, ed. M. A. Cook (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1970). Another well-known exposition of the theory is Hazem Beblawi and Giacomo Luciani, eds., The Rentier State: Nation, State and the Integration of the Arab World (London: Croom Helm, 1987).

12. Bertell Ollman, Dance of the Dialectic: Steps in Marx’s Method (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2003), 202.

13. Harry S. Truman, Inaugural Address, January 20, 1949.

14. Daniel Lerner, The Passing of Traditional Society: Modernizing the Middle East (Glencoe, IL: Free Press, 1958), 79.

15. Begum Adalet, Hotels and Highways: The Construction of Modernization Theory in Cold War Turkey (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2018).

16. Joe Stork, Middle East Oil and the Energy Crisis (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1975); Abbas Alnasrawi, Arab Nationalism, Oil, and the Political Economy of Dependency (New York: Greenwood, 1991), 89–108; Timothy Mitchell, Carbon Democracy: Political Power in the Age of Oil (London: Verso, 2011), 173–99.

17. Fred Halliday, Arabia Without Sultans (London: al-Saqi, 2001); Robert Vitalis, America’s Kingdom: Mythmaking on the Saudi Oil Frontier (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2007); Toby Craig Jones, Desert Kingdom: How Oil and Water Forged Modern Saudi Arabia (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2010); Adam Hanieh, Capitalism and Class in the Gulf Arab States (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011) and Money Markets, and Monarchies: The Gulf Cooperation Council and the Political Economy of the Contemporary Middle East (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018). PEME’s bibliography lists Stork’s works but does not discuss them.

18. Janet Abu-Lughod, Before European Hegemony: The World System A.D. 1250–1350 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989).

19. Kenneth Pomeranz, The Great Divergence: China, Europe, and the Making of the Modern World Economy (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2000).

20. Beshara Doumani, Rediscovering Palestine: Merchants and Peasants in Jabal Nablus, 1700–1900 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995); Sarah Shields, Mosul Before Iraq: Like Bees Making Five-Sided Cells (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2000).

21. Hala Fattah, The Politics of Regional Trade in Iraq, Arabia and the Gulf, 1745–1900 (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1997), 7.

22. Lord Cromer, Modern Egypt (New York: Macmillan, 1908), vol. 2, 180.

23. Weekly radio address as reported in the Washington Post, November 17, 2001.

24. Gérard Davet and Fabrice Lhomme, Un président ne devrait pas dire ça . . . (Paris: Stock, 2016), 595.

25. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, “Can the Subaltern Speak?” in Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture, ed. Cary Nelson and Lawrence Grossberg (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1988), 296.