Kleptocracy and the Arab Spring

When institutions are strong, citizens demand rights; when institutions are weak, citizens beg for favors.[1]

In many countries today, governments are designed not to govern but to serve the personal enrichment of ruling elites. Under such kleptocratic systems those in power do not exercise the functions of state but concentrate instead on extracting resources for personal gain. For such regimes, governing is just a front activity.[2]

Kleptocracy is a major factor fuelling instability across North Africa and the Middle East, and is a major cause of the rise of Islamic extremism across the region.     Continue reading

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In Democracy Building the Means are the Ends

A Blow to Democracy in Egypt

One year ago Egyptians were celebrating the end of thirty years of dictatorship and the beginning of a new era of democracy. Now Egypt’s first elected President Muhammad Morsi has been ousted by a combination of street protests and military intervention. This is a mistake. By adopting non-democratic means, Egypt’s opposition parties are unwittingly playing into the hands of those, on all sides, whose pathology makes them incapable of building democracy. Continue reading

Our Age of Unrest

This weekend marks the first anniversary of the election of Mohamed Morsi as President of Egypt. During the first year of Morsi’s rule, Egyptian society has become more divided. After his election victory, instead of seeking to build consensus around a new political order, Morsi sought instead to monopolise power. As a result, this anniversary is being marked by protests instead of celebrations. Continue reading