Egypt’s future 2

Last week I posted some cautionary thoughts about the outcome of what we have to call the military coup in Egypt.  More details on the incentives and habits, and indicative recent decisions, of the army mandarins are coming out, and the picture is not pretty, whether you care about political or economic freedom.  A clientist kleptocracy is not going to do much for the millions of Egyptians who are famously living on two dollars a day.  So far, it’s not unfair to view the “revolution” as little more than the regime getting rid of accessories, catspaws, and figureheads that have become unfashionable and unuseful, to better set itself up for another couple of decades of profitable rule.

I hope I’m wrong.

Author: Michael O'Hare

Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley, Michael O'Hare was raised in New York City and trained at Harvard as an architect and structural engineer. Diverted from an honest career designing buildings by the offer of a job in which he could think about anything he wanted to and spend his time with very smart and curious young people, he fell among economists and such like, and continues to benefit from their generosity with on-the-job social science training. He has followed the process and principles of design into "nonphysical environments" such as production processes in organizations, regulation, and information management and published a variety of research in environmental policy, government policy towards the arts, and management, with special interests in energy, facility siting, information and perceptions in public choice and work environments, and policy design. His current research is focused on transportation biofuels and their effects on global land use, food security, and international trade; regulatory policy in the face of scientific uncertainty; and, after a three-decade hiatus, on NIMBY conflicts afflicting high speed rail right-of-way and nuclear waste disposal sites. He is also a regular writer on pedagogy, especially teaching in professional education, and co-edited the "Curriculum and Case Notes" section of the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. Between faculty appointments at the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, he was director of policy analysis at the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs. He has had visiting appointments at Università Bocconi in Milan and the National University of Singapore and teaches regularly in the Goldman School's executive (mid-career) programs. At GSPP, O'Hare has taught a studio course in Program and Policy Design, Arts and Cultural Policy, Public Management, the pedagogy course for graduate student instructors, Quantitative Methods, Environmental Policy, and the introduction to public policy for its undergraduate minor, which he supervises. Generally, he considers himself the school's resident expert in any subject in which there is no such thing as real expertise (a recent project concerned the governance and design of California county fairs), but is secure in the distinction of being the only faculty member with a metal lathe in his basement and a 4×5 Ebony view camera. At the moment, he would rather be making something with his hands than writing this blurb.

3 thoughts on “Egypt’s future 2”

  1. My impression is that Mubarak and friends were fronting the neo-liberal, international globalizing elite, but the economic demands of the neo-liberal globablizers were coming into conflict with the military’s domestic economic interests: a predictable phase-change, bump-in-the-road, on the road to neo-feudalism.

    Ask not for whom the bell tolls, etc.

  2. IIRC, the Turkish military also had a large part of their economic sector for a long time. They were a lot richer than Egypt.

    There are kleptocrats and kleptocrats. A kleptocrat who skims 10% off the top is not inconsistent with economic development–many countries have developed nicely with a fair amount of corruption. I could point to Japan, Italy, or the good old U.S. of A.

    The question in my mind: does the Egyptian military want to run the country for its exclusive benefit, or merely wet its beak? Neither are good, but one is far less bad than the other.

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