The Political Economy of Mubarak's Fall

Samer Soliman

in Arab Spring in Egypt

Published by American University in Cairo Press

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9789774165368
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9781617971365 | DOI:
The Political Economy of Mubarak's Fall

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As authoritarian regimes do not rest only on repression, the Mubarak's one had to rely on ideology and money. Mubarak's fall should be explained by the weakening of his mechanisms of control in these two fields. The objective of this chapter is to explain the transformation of the Egyptian political economy and how it brought the demise of the Egyptian regime. This transformation should not be reduced to a certain ‘economic crisis’ and a rising social discontent, although it certainly includes such a variable. In fact, under Mubarak the state has lost much of easy public revenues or rent coming from foreign aid, oil and Suez Canal revenues. Taxing the population has become a necessity. The State has been in the process of change from a semi-rentier state to a tax state[i]. This structural change helped transforming Egyptians from subjects to citizens. In addition, the contraction of public revenues limited the ‘political purchasing power’ of the regime, hence reducing the number of its dependents and supporters and created a process of fragmentation of political power. For more than two decades, Mubarak maneuvered in order to lessen the political outcomes of this transformation in the political economy of the country. But finally, structural factors imposed their outcome on Egyptian politics and they helped the fall of Mubarak. [i] The analysis of the end of the semi rentier state in Egypt is based on our earlier work: Samer Soliman. The Autumn of Dictatorship. Fiscal Crisis and Political Change in Egypt under Mubarak. (Stanford: Stanford university press, 2011).

Keywords: Rentier state; taxation; democratization; political control; Authoritarianism

Chapter.  8567 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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