Affluence and Poverty in the Middle East by M. Riad El-Ghonemy

By M. Riad El-Ghonemy

Affluence and Poverty within the heart East is an creation to the political financial system of the center East, targeting its so much salient positive factors - chronic poverty and severe inequality. El-Ghonemy analyses the criteria influencing the zone, together with its distinctive ancient, spiritual and cultural combine, in addition to its fiscal foundations and varieties of corruption. for every issue he employs case-studies drawn from through the quarter, from Turkey to Sudan and Morocco to Iran. within the ultimate part El-Ghomeny discusses attainable options to the demanding situations dealing with the sector, together with attainable makes use of of a peace dividend, and the position of democracy.

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While about 70 per cent of the Iraqi farming population possessed 3 per cent of the cultivated area (with an average of five acres each) just five large landlords possessed nearly 4 per cent of the total land with an average property area of 60,000 acres (24,300 hectares) each. 4 It needs no great effort of the imagination to judge the blighting effects of this semi-feudal system upon the masses of small cultivators and nomads. ’ These lucky, wealthy families were the principal beneficiaries of the large-scale irrigation works constructed later by the British around the two major rivers, the Tigris and the Euphrates.

Hence the technological base of inequality, through irrigation and the rapid rise in the profitability of land. Another British action that affected profit making and income distribution was the prohibition of the slave trade and slave labour, which was still practised despite being proscribed by Islam. Polarization originated by way of the concentration of wealth and income in a few hands within increasingly market-oriented transactions. The result was rising indebtedness, the formation of large estates with absentee landlords and the emergence of a poor peasantry and landless wage-workers.

A massive wave of dispossession and confiscation of Algeria’s tribal lands dislocated tens of thousands of the farming and nomadic population, who were pushed to the low-rainfall south and the less fertile land. In addition, most of the land owned by the people of the Kabyle region was sequestrated. Forced indemnity payments of 37 million francs to the French authorities were also extracted as a punishment for the Kabyle inhabitants’ revolt against the French regime in 1871 (Abun-Nasr, 1971) as a desperate expression of the misery that had followed the 1866 and 1870 famines.

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