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Long Term Perspectives on The Economic Development in the Middle East / ההתפתחות הכלכלית במזרח התיכון בפרספקטיבה ארוכת טווח

ג'פרי ד. זקס and Jeffry D. Sachs
The Economic Quarterly / הרבעון לכלכלה
Vol. 48, No. 3 (חשוון תשס"ב / אוקטובר 2001), pp. 417-440
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23776182
Page Count: 24
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Abstract

What are the economic prospects of the Middle East? This seemingly straightforward question is shrouded in confusion and misunderstanding. Throughout history, economic analysis of this region, like other regions, has been subverted by the tendency of both the rich and the poor, the economic victors and the vanquished, to moralize rather than to analyze. When a society is in an economic upswing, the chroniclers inevitably attribute the success to mythic virtues of the society — its culture, its gods, its traditions, its genetic makeup. Societies in economic decline are described, especially by outsiders but also by insiders, as iniquitous, chasers of false gods, cultural reactionaries. This tendency to cast economic trends in moral or theological terms has nowhere been stronger than in the Middle East, the world's greatest crossroads of competing cultures and religions. Economic development is indeed related in some ways to culture and religion, but long-term trends in development in any society are even more importantly governed by physical geography, geopolitics, and changes in the world economy at the global scale. This paper attempts to explain Long-Term Perspectives on Economic Development in the Middle East with those tools.

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