Atelier Recherche du CEDEJ
CEDEJ Research workshop
Cleft Capitalism: The Social Origins of Egypt’s Failed Market Making
15th of February 2021 at 6 pm
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 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 deregulation 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, setting 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.
Amr Adly is assistant professor in the department of political science at The American University in Cairo. He worked as a researcher at the Middle East directions program at the European University Institute. He worked as a non-resident scholar at the Carnegie Middle East Center, where his research centered on political economy, development studies, and economic sociology of the Middle East, with a focus on Egypt. Adly taught political economy at The American University in Cairo and Stanford University. He has also worked as a project manager at the center of democracy, development, and the rule of law at Stanford University, where he was a postdoctoral fellow. Adly is author of cleft capitalism: the social origins of failed market-making in Egypt (Stanford University Press, 2020) and state reform and development in the Middle East: the cases of Turkey and Egypt (Routledge, 2012). He has been published in several peer-reviewed journals, including geoforum, business and politics, the journal of Turkish studies, and middle eastern studies. Adly is also a frequent contributor to print and online news sources, including Bloomberg, Jadaliyya, and Al-Shorouk.