There are a lot of the theories about why Arab countries have lagged other parts of the world in economic and political development. Some blame the legacy of colonialism, others the so-called “resource curse”, others blame Islam itself. In an interesting new book called The Long Divergence, Timur Kuran of Duke argues that Islam’s economic restrictions, rather than its cultural conservatism or isolationism, stunted development in countries where it was the dominant religion. Marriage and inheritance laws, he argues, blocked the pooling of capital that made possible the Renaissance, exploration and the industrial revolution in Europe, developments that ultimately helped pave the way for stable democracy throughout the West. […]
Kuran concludes his book on a pessimistic note. “If the region’s autocratic regimes were magically to fall, the development of strong private sectors and civil societies could take decades,” he writes. “With few exceptions, their civil societies are too poorly organized, and too beaten down, to provide the political checks and balances essential to sustained democratic rule.” Kuran probably didn’t expect his conclusions to be tested so soon and we can all hope that he’s wrong. But from Eastern Europe and sub-Saharan Africa to Latin America and Southeast Asia, recent history makes it clear that democracy’s future in the Arab world depends on Arabs, not Americans. [bron]
De kans op echte democratie in Egypte is vrijwel nihil: straatarm, met 40% analfabeten.
Wat dat betreft hadden op papier de Palestijnse gebieden en Iran meer kans. Maar ook daar werd een seculiere dictatuur vervangen door een Islamitische sharia dictatuur.