Egypt has undergone significant economic liberalization under the auspices of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, USAID, and the European Commission. Yet after more than four decades of economic reform, the Egyptian economy still fails to meet popular expectations for inclusive growth, better standards of living, and high-quality employment. While many analysts point to cronyism and corruption, Amr Adly finds the root causes of this stagnation in the underlying social and political conditions of economic development.
Cleft Capitalism offers a new explanation for why market-based development can fail to meet expectations: small businesses in Egypt are not growing into medium and larger businesses. The practical outcome of this missing middle syndrome is the continuous erosion of the economic and social privileges once enjoyed by the middle classes and unionized labor, without creating enough winners from market making. This in turn set the stage for alienation, discontent, and, finally, revolt. With this book, Adly uncovers both an institutional explanation for Egypt's failed market making, and sheds light on the key factors of arrested economic development across the Global South.
About the author
Amr Adly is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the American University in Cairo and the author of State Reform and Development in the Middle East: The Cases of Turkey and Egypt (2012).
"Cleft Capitalism is a highly original analysis of what Amr Adly calls Egypt's 'successful transition to failed capitalism.' Based on extensive and sound research, it represents an important rethinking of the trajectory of Egypt's political economy since 1974 and a bold challenge to Washington Consensus economic policy orthodoxy."
—Joel Beinin, Stanford University
"Amr Adly elaborates a novel explanation for underperforming economies of the Global South. Richly detailed, theoretically insightful, Cleft Capitalism is essential reading for anyone interested in the Egyptian, Middle Eastern, and other political economies."
—Robert Springborg, Naval Postgraduate School
"Cleft Capitalism offers a lucid, rich, and new understanding of the course of Egyptian economic development. With his sophisticated understanding of Egyptian politics and society and refined economic analysis, Amr Adly not only helps us understand Egypt better, but offers a model of how to approach the contentious terrain of economic change in the developing world."
—Nathan J. Brown, George Washington University