Egyptian Economic History After 1880.

The Literary Corner is a place to discuss your favourite books and authors and to add your own poems and stories.

Moderators: DJKeefy, 4u Network

User avatar
Posts: 1284
Joined: Mon Feb 20, 2012 4:23 pm
Has thanked: 814 times
Been thanked: 747 times

Egyptian Economic History After 1880.

Post by Hafiz »

Egypt – Capitalism and the State.

The economic history of Egypt is poorly understood – as is its general history except for the shiny coffins and big pyramids. The writing in Arabic or English by Egyptians on this are is close to zero - possibly zero except for the standard propaganda garbage, The Government of Egypt has a standard policy to local and western scholars looking for access to the archive - go away.

The period since 1880 is covered by few and all of those competent few are westerners – although rarely the lying imperialists that some think.

Its relevant because themes in the past 140 years repeat themselves – mostly tragically – as does a country that refuses to learn from the past.

One thorough, detailed – very detailed – economic history of the period is and its available free in full text from the University of California Library. ... nd=ucpress

Vitalis the author of When Capitalists Collide teaches at the University of Pennsylvania, Hawass’s old university and the place that doesn’t ask the old windbag to give a lecture, offer him an honorary doctorate or offer their famous press for his ‘world beating books’. I think they remember him ‘well’.

My interpretation of what he said is probably a bit shrill.

As you do if you are a westerner or western academic you present a detailed cv of all you have done or are responsible for – but local Egyptians avoid it or dissimulate or worse. ... V_1010.pdf He is not an old man but he has achieved a lot and is a specialist in the region respected by the greatest think tanks and foundations in the world.

On the negative a flowing writing style is not his strength. It’s a broad view that does a lot more than narrow economics and tries to look at power and relationships through sociology and anthropology. A weakness, probably lack of sources, is inattention to other than the powerful.

Reviews in publically available journals are rare but positive and point that he has debunked the Egyptian view of its own history which painted it as victim of imperial economic interests. Rather the story prior to 1952 was of a lot of development, including by non-Greek and non-Jewish groups, considerable exports, not like today, sale of public assets/concessions like railways which produced good results, not like today, and maybe lesser corruption than since 1952. In this earlier period it was probably the case that the best got to the top, or at least not the worst, which quickly changed after 1952 when loyalty was the primary job qualification.

All internal economic groups/factions collaborated with overseas capital and technology - something abolished with the emergence of a shrieking nationalism after 1952 – a sort of Brexit stage.

For reasons unclear this pre-WW2 in Egyptian development stalled on industrialization, a path most developing countries follow, and this was followed by Nasser who was obsessed with industrialization, which Aswan was to supply, and who utterly failed in this as he did in all other things.

Xenophobia, or feeling weak/exploited by ‘outsiders’, (including by families in Egypt for hundreds of years or more and wasn’t Muhammad Ali an Albanian outsider) seems to be a long and strong theme in modern Egyptian history the positive effects of which are hard to determine other than the ‘pleasure’ of anger. ... 0158/19781

Interesting facts.

1. The Cairo-Aswan rail line was built by private Suares group, as were the Helwan line and lines in the delta who then leased it back to the government. The Suares group were exclusively Jewish so all Muslim travellers should be fumigated after travel with high pressure steam ‘guns’. Maybe the line should be ripped up.

2. After 1904 the Suares group developed Maadi from scratch – it should now be evacuated and burnt down.

3. Urban development in Heliopolis and maybe other places was very odd by our standards. The Belgian Empain group in Heliopolis didn’t only subdivide land and build houses but also built transport by tram to the city and power and utilities. It’s a bit like the self contained machine gun protected communities of the last 30 years. The Empain group was more controlling than the Jews and other groups and liked monopoly and removing (so-called) ethnic Egyptian interests. This is contrary to the hysterical views of Nasser and his butcher friends.

4. For much of this period government control/interest in the economy seems minimal other than bribes. It seems that the Imperial government – Cromer and others – were more interested in their literary or political intrigue circles or making money on the side, than in any coherent economic plan for the country or controlling out of control capitalists. India was the same. Even 8 hours a day at work for the Brits was ‘unseemly’ for a gentleman. Cromer/Baring was both regulator and profit maker and invested in Egypt using inside information and possibly using his power to advantage himself. The later bankruptcy of Barings from crooked behaviors by their UK worker (trained by the Queen’s bankers) in a third world location seems inadequate but poetic justice for that dreadful family. They did retain 5 separate peerages which gives them continuing power in Britain’s hereditary democracy.

5. The exploding urban development from the 1880’s seems to have been under minimal government supervision.

6. From the 1890’s sugar boomed and much money was made in Upper Egypt out of its capital intensive processing which was dominated by Suares and Sir Ernest Cassell – both Jews. Unlike today a deal was exported. All modern Egyptians should burn down the sugar plantations. Like today the state sold (?) to these interests both farms (300,000 feddans a huge proportion of the then farming total) and factories and they were much better managed after the sale. They couldn’t have been worse managed.

7. This is complicated and a bit unclear. The financing of the 1st Aswan dam was refused by the Government of Egypt (the release of funds required French co-approval and I think they refused) and it was Cromer (Protestant) and Cassell (Jewish) money that built it. Therefore the dam should be destroyed as a Jewish conspiracy. These people could think in an integrated way because the dam water/irrigation made their land and factories/refineries valuable because it could produce sugar and cotton.

8. Competition amongst the major groups/consortia in Egypt was aggressive and this is likely to have had good outcomes for the country – unlike after 1952 where it was all monopolies and no-competition and state control. Another view is that there was a complete blurring between the public and private a lot like today although who rode whom was not always clear and not helped by somnolent UK supervision and scant regard for the middle and lower classes.

9. The Lancashire textile lobby (now bankrupt) exerted huge influence on Egypt policy – presumably to keep Egyptian cotton cheap and to destroy competition with weaving etc and Cromer refused to give protection to local textile manufacture and imperial policy was always to use its empire as a source of resources/inputs to English manufacture and then as a market for their exports. The destruction of Indian manufacture in textiles was similar. This retarded the whole of the empire from the full development of manufacturing. Imperial administration divided native economic interests to ensure they stayed sources of inputs and emporia for outputs. Cromer’s cousins and the source of his wealth was Lancashire and cotton. The family had also made huge amounts out of slavery and were fully compensated by the British taxpayer for their loss of slaves.

10. Public assets were transferred from public to private ownership by the UK but the precise benefits to both are unclear.

11. The collaboration between rich Islamic local interests and Jewish and International interests in industry and farming went back a long way and was close and profitable. Such rich Islamic interests were stripped of all their assets after 1952 and replaced by incompetent flunkies who ruined these businesses in all cases.

12. Over 100 years ago the government established public Commissions of private and government representatives to develop a public research report on major public issues. Since 1952 no such work has been done and any major planning initiatives have either been secret or illiterate which is odd for a totally planned economy.

13. Egypt sustained its wealth on exports of cotton and tobacco. These have collapsed as a result of government management and replaced by oil and gas run by western companies. Then and now Egypt relies on exports but its modern system involves no jobs and overseas ownership because local skills in oil and gas, after 50 years of state ownership, are worse than useless.

14. An illusion well digested by fools and the western left is that Nasser’s nationalizations were about tossing out western Influence. This is complete rot. He tossed out all of the local entrepreneurs who had achieved from the 1920’s and anyone with strong views who wouldn’t listen to his 6 hour rants, this left him with idiot slaves – people he liked.

15. All developing countries are short of skills and capital – as Australia was more than 100 years ago – and this means that these countries need to enter into careful arrangements with the centers of capital and skills in order to develop. Sensible places like Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Canada have managed this whilst others, including Egypt, have switched from slavish acceptance to violent rejection of all outside help and can’t find a middle. Egypt has also maintained outdated and the unhinged views about local competence/local achievement and monopolies and the need to support the big companies. The colonial powers went from an economic and infrastructure zero to some of the wealthiest places on earth and did so in very difficult climates and environments.

16. Then and particularly now a great deal of money in Egypt is made by barely functional intermediaries. For example a local big man gives his name to importing western products. His effort is zero but the rake off large. Similar deals exist for locals to ‘help’ western multinationals establish in Egypt or partnerships where the Egyptian does little. No work but lots of money. Many western firms know you cannot succeed locally without a highly placed local parasite. A deal of capitalist/government activity, then and now, is rent seeking with little skilled input.

User avatar
Egyptian God
Egyptian God
Posts: 7101
Joined: Fri Jul 16, 2010 12:04 pm
Location: Lanikai Beach
Has thanked: 1661 times
Been thanked: 5472 times

Re: Egyptian Economic History After 1880.

Post by Who2 »

Quite fascinating to digest, will take my laptop to bed to study in more detail.... 8)
Quote: University of Pennsylvania, Hawass’s old university and the place that doesn’t ask the old windbag to give a lecture, offer him an honorary doctorate or offer their famous press for his ‘world beating books’. I think they remember him ‘well’.

Iv'e always taken a great interest in Zahi's career ever since he was rude to me many years ago..f****prat...
He was once chucked out of The Habu Hotel & 'dossed-down in a tomb years ago...'not many people know that'
"The Salvation of Mankind lies in making everything the responsibility of All"

  • Similar Topics
    Last post
  • 23 Egyptian Women Who Made History
    by Who2 » Sat May 10, 2014 4:26 pm » in Know Egypt
    0 Replies
    Last post by Who2
    Sat May 10, 2014 4:26 pm
  • The 25 Most Influential Women in Egyptian History.
    by Winged Isis » Tue Mar 13, 2018 12:30 pm » in Know Egypt
    0 Replies
    Last post by Winged Isis
    Tue Mar 13, 2018 12:30 pm
  • Egyptian History Lies-Farag
    by Hafiz » Tue May 07, 2019 12:42 pm » in Know Egypt
    1 Replies
    Last post by Hafiz
    Wed May 08, 2019 1:52 am
  • History fails to interest Egyptian students
    by Winged Isis » Sat Sep 01, 2012 12:12 am » in Know Egypt
    15 Replies
    Last post by timetraveller
    Sun Sep 09, 2012 12:28 pm
  • The Economic impact on Egypt of COVID-19
    by newcastle » Sat Mar 28, 2020 9:15 pm » in Know Egypt
    5 Replies
    Last post by A-Four
    Sun Mar 29, 2020 12:55 pm