After the Arab Spring – Democratic Aspirations and State Failure

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  • Instability and Institutional Failure
    • In this section, you will become acquainted with some of the mistakes that were made in the decades prior to the outbreak of the recent Arab rebellions. These shortcomings have led to stunted and underperforming political systems, much at variance with developments elsewhere.
  • Governance
    • At the heart of most of the enduring problems plaguing the Arab world is the availability of essentially free income flowing to the governments of the region. These ‘rents’ have sustained a repressive arrangement in which citizens pay little or no taxes and have no voice.
  • Institutions
    • Social action inevitably produces institutions, namely values, stable, repeated patterns of behaviour. In this section, you will learn what institutions are, how they come about, how their relative effectiveness is measures, how and why they decline, and why all that matters.
  • Economics: Bread, Dignity and Freedom
    • This section deals with the material bases of popular discontent, especially the connection between the states’ explicit promises of delivering welfare that have become increasingly unsustainable in the face of exploding population growth and falling revenues.
  • Human Development: Growth and Frustration
    • Structural changes beyond anyone’s control lead to different ways of living and, thus, value changes. With explosive population growth, social institutions have not kept up and norms are contested, often violently. Arab education and research especially have underperformed.
  • Outlook: Elusive Stability
    • Tying together some of the structural shortcomings that have produced the dysfunction that drove the Arab rebellions, this section casts a somewhat gloomy picture about the formidable tasks ahead if these societies want to redress the causes of discontent and return to stability.