Poverty in Transition Economies (Routledge Studies of Societies in Transition)

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It measures the area of productive land and water ecosystems required to supply the resources that a population consumes and assimilate the wastes that it generates. Until the mid s, humankind still lived within the renewable limits of the Planet. Since then, the ecological footprint of the world population has been growing continuously, as both the number of people and income per capita increased.

Earth's total biocapacity was 12 billion gha, or 1. Since there were only 12 billion global hectares availabIe, humankind was already using the resources of one and a half planets. The consequences of this rapid journey toward unsustainability can already be perceived in the infringement of planetary boundaries.

A study published in by the Stockholm Resilience Center at the University of Stockholm traced an initial sketch of planetary boundaries and defined the safe operational space for humanity on the basis of intrinsic biosphere processes that regulate the stability of the Earth System. The study identified nine central dimensions for the maintenance of the conditions for a decent life for human societies and for the environment.

This new study, based on a large number of peer-reviewed scientific studies, aimed to solidify the methodology of the previous analysis. It generally confirms the original set of planetary boundaries but provides an updated analysis and a quantification of the situation in several of them. It maintains the same processes as the study but improves the methodology and the analysis of the planetary boundaries with a focus on biophysics based on scientific advances over the previous five years.

Several of the boundaries are now presented in two levels in order to reflect scale and regional heterogeneity. According to the authors, the methodology of the Planetary Boundaries does not propose to dictate how human societies should develop but to help civil society and decision-makers in the definition of a safe operational space for humanity and for life on Earth. These nine processes affect the mechanisms that regulate and maintain the stability and resilience of the Earth system.

Interactions between land, oceans and the atmosphere control the conditions under which our societies depend for their survival. Transgression of a boundary increases the risks for all human activities and could generate a much less hospitable state for the planet, frustrating efforts to reduce poverty and leading to the deterioration of human well-being in many parts of the world, including in the rich countries.

The main novelty in this second study is the discovery that four of the planetary boundaries have already been breached: climate change, biodiversity integrity; landuse change, and; biogeochemical flows phosphorus and nitrogen cycles. Two of these - climate change and biodiversity integrity - constitute what the scientists call "core" planetary boundaries due to their fundamental importance for the Earth system.

Aggravating the violation of these core frontiers would be catastrophic and could lead to the collapse of the civilization we know. In other words, there are basic tipping points that cannot be surpassed. The risks of ecological chaos if we continue to exceed planetary limits were dramatized in another study published in by 12 scientists from the University of California.

The scientists alerted us to the fact that we are on the brink of a "state shift", that is, an abrupt critical transition that could suddenly alter known conditions, producing unanticipated biotic effects BARNOSKY et al. Hence, the analysis of planetary boundaries confirm previous theoretical studies, such as those of Beck and Giddens in the sense that capitalist modernization, while overcoming some previous conflicts, escalates those between society and nature, creating global risks of catastrophic magnitude.

In this light, contrary to the cornucopian perception, the prevailing economic system is taking us towards an unsustainable future and succeeding generations will find it much harder to survive with a good quality of life. History shows us that civilizations follow a cycle of ascension, but when they are unable to accept new values or to change their trajectory, they tend to collapse.

However, we have no historical record of any civilization that has ever deliberately risked suffering such vast devastation as ours! The next segment presents a brief analysis of the two threats that, according to current science, are particularly menacing for our current civilization - climate change and the integrity of biodiversity. Climate change is the most obvious threat and it has received the most attention from the general public as well as from scientists and politicians.

The inherent volatility of the weather and its everyday significance favors widespread puzzlement and scepticism - particularly among the negationists, but also from laymen - concerning the origins and the real dimensions of ongoing changes. In contrast, the scientific evidence is ever more conclusive. Despite the efforts of negationists, the enormous majority of scientists who study these questions is totally convinced that climate change is occurring and that it is related to our paradigm of development. That is, in this "Anthropocene" era, the diffusion and application of "the growth imperative" is primarily responsible for the present crisis.

The particulars of climate change and its probable consequences are well-known and confirmed by the literature and need not be repeated here. Suffice it to quote a recent typical report prepared by Mario Molina, recipient of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in , who recently led a committee of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The resulting paper -"What we know: the reality, risks, and response to climate change", published in , warns that the effects of greenhouse gases that we produce in the atmosphere can be horrific: "The evidence is overwhelming: Levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are rising.

Temperatures are going up. Springs are arriving earlier. Ice sheets are melting. Sea level is rising. The patterns of rainfall and drought are changing. Heatwaves are getting worse, as is extreme precipitation. The oceans are acidifying" AAAS, , p. It recently announced that the month of June was the warmest since systematic data on the temperature of the Planet have been gathered. The six first months of also marked the hottest semester on record since Despite not having received nearly as much attention as climate change, the reduction of flora and fauna - or, the loss of biodiversity - is another major ecological threat that could potentially have comparably significant impacts.

Humankind occupies an ever-increasing extent of planetary space and this has resulted in the harmful invasion of all other forms of ecosystemic life on Earth. In and of itself, this increases global risks. In other words, the quantity of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish on the Planet is, on average, only half of what it was 40 years ago WWF, In July of , the journal "Science" published a series of studies showing alarming rates of crime against other living creatures.

The responsibility of humankind to risks of the disappearance of species is times greater than natural processes. The journal confirms that human beings are causing, over a brief period of time, the sixth massive extinction on the planet. The causes are multiple - landuse, changes in soil cover, deforestation, disappearance of pollinators, soil erosion, changes in the quality of water and other related factors. Ultimately, the effects are systemic and result from increasing discrimination against non-human species and the generalization of the crime of ecocide.

Various proposals have been put forth to mitigate the damage caused by the human presence on the Planet and to avoid the collapse of biodiversity. Harvard biologist Edward Osborne, who classifies the situation as a "biological holocaust", suggests a conservation plan called "half Earth" in which half of the planet would be reserved for wildlife and for the extension of forest cover to sequester carbon and mitigate the effects of global warming HISS, Elizabeth Kolbert , in her book The sixth extinction, also calls attention to the dangers caused by the reduction of biodiversity, not only for ethical reasons, but also because ecological losses endanger those natural mechanisms which guarantee the equilibrium of ecosystems, the regulation of the climate, the purification of air, the protection of soil fertility, the control of pests and the healthy renovation of hydrographic basins.

The unsustainability of unequal development: globalization, ecology and population. Social unsustainability is a critical component of global sustainability. Although economic growth has contributed to improving life conditions for billions of people, its fruits have been distributed unequally. The mechanism that produced this growth is best characterized as throughput growth stimulated by consumerism. Globalization has massified this process and rapidly extended it to all continents.

According to the McKinsey consulting firm, the number of global consumers 5 already surpasses 2. Such estimates are based on a very broad definition of "consumer" persons who have an income of 10 dollars or more per day. The study concludes that the rapid expansion of the middle class is more promise than reality. Be that as it may, the point is that, despite the optimism of global business concerns, there is still an enormous number of people who will NOT be participating in the world middle class. By , when according to most scientific predictions, the crisis produced by this model of growth will already be showing clear signs of stress, more than half of the world's population will still not have made it into the world's consumer class.

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It is exactly at this intersection between increased consumption and the environmental limits to a growth model based on constant increases in consumption and increasing global inequality that the social and political importance of demographic issues needs to be understood today. The economic growth we know requires constant increases in production and consumption, either through the incorporation of new consumers or by boosting consumption among present consumers. Consumption is the engine that moves economic growth and the reduction of poverty.

Interest in consumption has a long history. Humanity has always been enticed by positional goods, that is, by those goods that others envy because they do not possess them. Increasingly effective mechanisms were devised to incite the population to consume more goods and services, a good proportion of which were superfluous. Not by accident, the networks of mass communications such as radio and TV were extended and improved, along with the increase in practices such as "planned obsolescence" of consumer goods, stimulation of constant renewal of products and processes generated through technological development and increasing physical access to channels of consumption through the spread of supermarkets and shopping malls.

The constant rise of consumption at the individual, national and global levels is being ensured with increasing efficacy by an proficient constellation of actors and institutions who remind us daily that we need to buy and consume more stuff. The culture of consumption has consecrated itself as the most efficient engine of capitalism in its efforts to promote economic growth, which has, in turn, become synonymous with "development".

This culture entails a collection of values, beliefs and behavior patterns that are considered by society as appropriate. The omnipresent shopping malls have become the temples in which this culture and its gods are worshipped. The culture defines the contours and the objectives of happiness as well as the determinants of social status of individuals and social groups that are blessed with the ability to participate in this civilization.

Consumerism ultimately induces people to search for contentment and social acceptability via the purchase of goods and services. The culture of consumption can be considered as the most significant human force in recent decades, surpassing religions, ideologies, ethnicity or political parties. Since it functions so well at the individual level, the motivation to consume exercises a strong capacity to mobilize society at the aggregate level. The constant quest for happiness through consumption, though ethereal, feeds persistent increases in production which, in turn, foster economic growth.

Given its efficiency in stimulating economic growth as well as poverty reduction, this model is aggressively promoted, not only by the market and business concerns, but also by national governments and international development agencies. Fomenting consumption has become, in this context, the essence of the development paradigm.

Unfortunately, this arrangement, whereby the promotion of consumption patterns that support constant increases in production give form, content and vigor to economic growth, also generates the two major threats to humankind in the 21 st century: ecological chaos as seen in previous segments and deep global inequality. These two threats are intimately related and, as seen in the next segment of this paper, are directly conditioned by demographic dynamics.

Despite the vast literature on both the benefits of economic growth, population dynamics and the expansion of environmental threats, three critical aspects of this issue have not been sufficiently highlighted:. The confluence of these three situations configures the profile of inequality that castigates the world at this historical moment and, at the same time, gives new dimensions to the demographic question.

Resolving income inequality is an imperative and an essential condition in the promotion of social justice. But inequality is also a problem for economic growth itself: Increasing inequality means not only that an enormous segment of the world's population subsists in poverty, but also that riches are increasing in a limited portion of humankind. At the base of the pyramid, some 3. The richest group contained 35 million adults 0. In short, the two groups at the top of the pyramid comprised 8.

At the base of the pyramid, 4. The worse part is that multiple sources indicate that this concentration is rising. The injustices of this social architecture notwithstanding, the number of consumers and the value of wealth has increased over recent decades, creating more pressure on natural resources. The worsening of the environmental crisis today reflects, in part, the incorporation of numerous contingents of consumers, especially rich ones, many of which come from countries that were, until recently, considered as "underdeveloped". In the context of increasing international concern with environmental problems in China and other emerging countries, it is easy to forget that the global environmental crisis was created by consumer patterns in a minority of the world's population - that from the developed countries together with the elites from other countries.

Even before the recent economic expansion of the emerging countries, a small proportion of humanity had already disturbed the global ecological equilibrium. In the Babylonian setting of the many large conferences focused on the environmental crisis, the poor countries obviously demand the same right to consume - and thus to pollute - as much as the initiators of the crisis. Developed countries, in turn, refuse to alter their economic trajectory so as to allow the others a certain leeway to grow; on the contrary, they constantly point to the dangers of development in emerging countries.

Should the "underdeveloped" countries be denied the right to escape poverty and to also become consumers? Despite the enormous economic progress of recent times, almost two-thirds of the world's population still do not participate in globalized consumption and one quarter are definitely poor. Industrialized countries systematically procrastinate in relation to any environmental agreement that represents a threat to their current way of life.

Retarding the socioeconomic progress of poorer population groups while consumption and degradation are stabilized or even increased in the rich countries signifies an expansion of the already-large gap between the two blocs. How can the level and rhythm of humanity's consumption be controlled without diminishing the social progress of the enormous mass of people who are not yet consumers and who, on the whole, still suffer from basic needs?

Improving the situation of the poor is an imperative, but the generalization of the production and consumption patterns of the rich to a significant proportion of the still-poor would require the natural resources of several planets. That is, in the absence of a dramatic turnaround in our conception of development, and of the culture of consumption that sustains it, the incorporation of significant numbers of new consumers - thereby fulfilling the aspirations of economists, corporations, governments and development agencies - would evidently mean the hastening of the ecological crisis.

Are there enough resources and technology to guarantee minimal welfare for the entire world population now and into the future? Possibly so, but this would demand radical changes in the development paradigm and a drastic reduction of consumption. Proof of this is the international failure to implement effective environmental measures.

A study carried out by UNEP and the Stockholm Environmental Institute on 90 environmental agreements signed by governments over the past few decades showed that only four of these had made any progress: removing lead from gasoline, improving access to good drinking water, promoting research on the marine environment and avoiding further damage to the ozone layer UNEP, In brief, conciliating the demands for consumption of a growing population - in a capitalist system centered on making greater profits by selling more merchandise that use up more natural resources in a finite planet wherein the energy flow is entropic - seems like an impossible task.

What solutions can be offered to this vital dilemma of humankind in the 21 st century? Several alternatives are being intensely discussed but, in practice, only 'painless' solutions are being seriously considered, that is, solutions that do not require profound alterations in a development paradigm that is founded on increased consumption and which has, so far at least, been efficacious in increasing wealth and reducing poverty - albeit, at the cost of the environment. In this context, the first recommendation that tends to be evoked in relation to environmental problems is the need to reduce population size and its rate of growth through the intensification of family planning programs.

The issue is very important and complex, but needs to be better understood. First of all, there are different levels of environmental impacts from population dynamics. On the most general level, practically any environmental challenge is made more difficult by population growth. As succinctly expressed by Vaclav Smil , p.

Yet, the nature and extent of the population challenge to sustainability is neither uniform nor linear. It is ultimately determined by the manner in which production and consumption is organized in a given society, at a given moment in time, and by the relative size of the different social groups that engage in particular patterns of consumption within that society.

The rise in global emissions resulting from economic growth are due to increased wealth and not to increased population. The countries that originally created the ecological crisis were low-fertility countries, while high fertility countries are poor and contribute little to major environmental problems.

As noted earlier, only one-third of the world's population actually consumes in the global market and contributes to major emissions. Therefore, one unit of population - a person - is not equivalent to one unit of consumption. In this light, population control continues to be an ineffective solution by itself since the problem does not spring from the increase in global population but from the growth of consumers in today's globalized economy.

Secondly, family planning programs are not a quick fix since they do not guarantee rapid fertility decline nor population reduction. The evidence shows that fertility tends to decline only after some form of development sets in. As analysed by Demeny , , the mechanisms which nudge lower vital rates are prompted by transformations in the socio-economic system which set the framework for individual actions; fertility declines when many individuals in a given society find it to their advantage to have less children.

Hence, the reduction of fertility in a country or population group is generally linked to improvements in living conditions and to urbanization.

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Providing people with the means to control their offspring is important to the welfare, health and liberation of women, but it does not necessarily reduce fertility drastically if people do not perceive prospects for improved living conditions. Moreover, much of today's population growth is inertial, that is, it results as much from the size of reproductive cohorts produced by fertility patterns in the previous generation as from current fertility rates. Hence, there is no quick reduction in total population size in sight.

Thirdly, fertility decline does not guarantee a decrease in consumption. The very reduction of family size itself favors increased per capita consumption, annulling in some form the gains from a reduced size of the total population. In sum, the same factors that reduce fertility also increase consumption.

Consequently, without a change in the dominant consumption-based development pattern, fertility decline - a process which is well underway in most of the developing world - will have, per se, very little environmental impact in the short run. Fourthly, and despite the thrust of the above arguments, the role of population in environmental issues acquires much greater urgency when viewed within a time perspective.

Depending on development outcomes, current population growth rates can have a critical impact on the number of consumers in the future. The poor and high fertility countries of today can obviously increase their consumption levels drastically to the extent that they are successful in adopting the hegemonic economic model. This observation is critical, as dramatically illustrated by the trajectory of China in recent decades. Future increases in the number of consumers in such countries will be determined by the rates of population growth in current generations.

Thus, the sensible approach would be to promote fertility reduction sooner rather than later, in case a more rational path to 'development' and the reduction of poverty is effectively adopted.

Rural Transition in China - SMU Research

Paradoxically, this reduction of fertility rates is unlikely to occur without access to urbanization and some type of development. Fifth, a moderate but constant increase in population is seen by developmentalists to be an effective stimulus for throughput growth based on constantly increasing levels of production and consumption.

From an environmental standpoint, this is a disastrous assessment since additional people will also have the right to consume. The dilemma is that we already have, worldwide, a much greater number of people consumers and potential consumers that can be supported at middle-class consumption levels by the Earth's resources. For Smil, it is impossible to generalize the consumption patterns that typify today's affluence to the whole of the human species without irreversibly compromising the supply of ecosystemic services on which we all depend.

The problem is not technical progress, whose rhythm is extraordinary and which clearly reduces the quantity of materials and energy for the manufacture of goods. The problem is that, globally, this reduction is only relative. Thus, the overriding issue is that, in this end-of-century development scenario, our ecosphere's resources are being most seriously threatened by the manner in which industrial civilization's model of throughput growth is being adopted on a growing scale.

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Privatisation would, however, staunch the flow of public monies into them, which remains sizeable even though it has tapered off over the past three years. Worker remittances remain a substantial source of foreign exchange, if not directly of government revenue.

Justice in Transition and the Complexities of Access – ACCORD

But after rising steadily from on to reach some USD 19 billion in , they fell significantly in the second half of as around , Egyptians were forced to leave Saudi Arabia as a result of its crackdown on foreign labour, while others still fled the growing conflict in Libya. Saudi Arabia alone accounts for about one half of all remittances to Egypt and if it and other GCC states step up expulsions of foreign workers, as they pledge to do, the flow of remittances to Egypt could yet be more negatively affected.

Egypt is now a net importer of fuels, and so does not profit on balance from the export of oil and gas. They will have to come from increased taxation. Therein lies the problem, as no one—of course—wants to bear that burden. Indeed, Egyptians have been steadily shirking it since the late s when tax revenue constituted about 30 per cent of GDP, falling to 20 per cent in and now to about 15 per cent, well below the average for comparator countries.

During the Mubarak era finance minister Yusuf Butrus Ghali, a strong advocate of tax reform, pushed through a new VAT tax and additional sales and real estate taxes. They were, however, never fully implemented, although the legislation and enabling administrative decrees have remained on the books. The issue of whether the government was intent on real, permanent fiscal reform, or was just seeking to appease its creditors due to its present, desperate need, remained unanswered in , for the promised raises in value added, real estate, and capital gains taxes were postponed yet again in the budget announced in July of that year.

They are too deep and pressing and involve such sensitive political questions of who gets what, when and how that their effective resolution requires direct engagement by the political elite. Since President al-Sisi now towers over that elite, he will have to become personally involved in this decision-making process and identify himself publicly with policy choices if real progress is to be made.

Whether he can come to understand the technical complexities and political trade-offs involved, choose decisively and well from among the options, and then sell the policies to those whom they impact will be a primary and presumably early test of his leadership. By the autumn of , his prevarication, vacillation, and cancellation of policy reforms, combined with a fixation on grandiose projects, suggested that he was seeking to substitute the latter for the former, a strategy with limited long-term prospects for political or economic success.

Business activity, in other words, was clustered in a few large firms and a multitude of very small ones, the latter of which could not easily expand because of lack of access to capital and a discriminatory regulatory environment. Fully in control, the military then began to selectively rehabilitate once disgraced cronies, including even the notorious Hussein Salem, architect and primary beneficiary of the costly gas deal with Israel Zaazaa, c. Presumably they were brought into the new, military-dominated fold because of the need for their capital and expertise. Other cronies who rejected overtures from the military, such as Rashid Muhammad Rashid, remained in exile, typically being subject to carrot and stick strategies intended to extract financial commitments to the government from them.

The other brother, however, remained in his London exile, uncertain of his treatment should he return to Egypt. Mubarak cronies, presumably to be joined by others, are scrambling for whatever patronage officers dole out, enhancing their appeal by bringing more retired officers into their companies and forging joint ventures with officer-owned companies. In the cabinet reshuffle following his election as president, for example, al-Sisi ejected Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy, who—like Finance Minister Ahmad Galal, who had been dumped in the previous reshuffle—had been too high profile and independently minded to be trusted by al-Sisi.

By contrast, Fahmy was a known opponent, when ambassador in Washington, of the further expansion of military influence in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Several members of the first al-Sisi cabinet were also members of the board of the Arab Organization for Industrialization, the most important of the three holding companies through which the Ministry of Defence manages Military Inc. The al-Sisi presidency, in other words, is configuring a political—economic elite that depends on the military and those either with well-established ties to it or willing to assist it with their resources in return for a share of the action.

While he might have some lingering sympathies for and interests in this last, struggling component of the business community, its needs could only be met by a thorough overhaul of the bureaucracy and the financial sector, tasks that the new president is unlikely to undertake or achieve. Islamist businessmen and public sector officials will be denied significant economic roles, while the design and operation of the economy will be in the hands of the military, assisted by a limited number of recycled cronies with a few new ones likely joining the elite in the future.

The independent, medium-sized businessmen who struggle in the missing middle will find their struggle harder still, as will owners of small and micro enterprises. They have contempt for the public sector and civilian government more generally, so they will privatise whatever state-owned enterprises they can while creating their own authority structures parallel to the civil administration.

Independent businesses of any size, in any sector, will find it increasingly difficult to compete in an economy of this nature. The political elite will be similarly tightly and narrowly structured, thus denying most independent owners of capital avenues of participation, influence, or protest. The proportion of informal employment provided by small and micro enterprises continued to grow, accounting for more than two-thirds of new entrants into the job market as formal public and private sector employment stagnated.

Female participation in the labour market receded in tandem with the relative decline in size of the civil service, as the majority of women in formal employment are employed by the government. The youth unemployment rate continued to be at least double the overall rate. The correlation between education and unemployment intensified as the private sector was generating an insufficient number of skilled jobs, while the public sector was no longer expanding in pace with the growing supply of graduates.

Official unemployment figures did not accurately reflect steadily growing underemployment, in part because the definition of employed was anyone working one hour a week or more. Increasingly, the unemployment rate reported primarily the proportion of university and higher technical school graduates who had failed to find jobs, as the less educated simply dropped off the books. In all, 2. A source of further concern is that a primary cause of the rebound in the fertility rate is a declining rate of employment of women of childbearing age.

In , 22 per cent of female high school graduates were employed, whereas in only 17 per cent were. The equivalent percentages for female university graduates were 56 per cent dropping to 41 per cent. This deterioration of female employment figures will presumably drive the fertility rate up still higher, thereby further exacerbating the challenge of job creation.

If this law and other measures do indeed restrict growth in the size and the overall wage bill of the civil service, this will parallel pressure already being applied to employees of state-owned enterprises, a significant percentage of whom have not been awarded promised minimum wage increases. The pressure being applied to these workers, and to those in private sector concerns, has taken a political form in the banning of strikes—a step called for by the Minister of Manpower, the Prime Minister and various other officials.

It was incorporated into legislation decreed under President Adly Mansour and has been sporadically implemented beginning in , most notably in Alexandria Charbel, Strikes in military-owned enterprises are illegal and employees who have sought to organise them have been prosecuted and imprisoned. Shortly after his election President al-Sisi launched a campaign to remove street vendors in urban areas, despite the fact that the activity frequently represents the last hope for those who have failed to find other employment, as exemplified by the case of Muhammad Bouazizi in in Tunisia.

The temporary respite of reduced numbers of young job seekers will soon give way to a renewed surge in those numbers. Prospects for migration have dimmed as GCC states move to restrict expatriate labour. Other potential foreign labour markets, including Europe and North America, are yet more difficult to access. Nothing has been done in recent years to improve the low quality of graduates from secondary and tertiary educational institutions.

Such an achievement would, in any case, take years to have an impact on labour markets. The very best that many will be able to envision is a job in Military Inc. In any case the majority of its workers are conscripts, drawn from an overflowing pool in excess of , men. The January 25 Revolution has been devastating for both sectors.

The prospects for their return to the status quo ante, to say nothing of potential expansion, are not encouraging. Tourism, already down from totals, fell by two-thirds in from the preceding year, posting its lowest number of visitors in a decade. The comparative magnitude of this impact is illustrated by the fact that, in , of countries ranked according to the contribution tourism made to GDP, Egypt was placed 35 th , while its ranking with regard to prospects for growth in was th World Tourism and Travel Council, Gas exports dried up shortly after the January 25 Revolution as the growth of domestic consumption overtook production.

Stopgap measures allowing energy-intensive industries to import their own gas and to construct coal-fired power stations were approved, but the attractiveness of Egypt as a producer necessarily declined as energy costs escalated. Tourism depends heavily on security and the broader political environment, a fact of which jihadis intent on destabilising the government are well aware. Attacks on tourists in Luxor and the Sinai in , combined with the beheading of a kidnapped Croatian employee of a French energy company that year, reflected this intent.

Even if the security and political environments in Egypt were somehow to improve, growing instability in the region, including in neighbouring Libya, would still deter tourists. Egyptian and Western educational, cultural and other institutions based in Cairo or elsewhere in the country, including for example the American University in Cairo, have suffered sharp drops in foreign enrolments, with students, archaeologists and others establishing new institutional relationships elsewhere, such as in Morocco, considered a safer Arab location.

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In the final decade of the Mubarak era annual tourism receipts alone averaged some USD 10 billion, typically offsetting the annual trade deficit in goods. Inadequate reserves of foreign exchange resulting from the decline of remittances and tourism will in turn impact on other productive sectors, most notably that of manufacturing, which depends heavily on the importation of capital goods and raw materials—one of the reasons this sector has declined at a steadily growing pace since , as evidenced by the performance of manufacturing in general and the textile industry in particular.

Egypt failed to continue development of its hydrocarbon reserves at a rate sufficient to keep pace with expanding local consumption. It then violated production sharing agreements with BG, ENI, BP and other international energy companies by diverting gas intended for exports to domestic consumption. At least two of these companies commenced proceedings against Egypt for contract violations. In the meantime steadily more energy is required to generate electricity for domestic consumption, a decreasing share of which can be allocated to industry.

The future of these energy-intensive industries, which will have to rely ever more heavily on imported energy—whether in the form of natural gas, coal, oil or even electricity, which will be at or near global prices—is bleak, for they were all built on the basis of subsidised energy inputs. Again, however, that is a long-term prospect, payback from which will require many years to materialise, thus raising the question of opportunity cost. How is the government going to structure the economy to meet these pressing challenges?

The magnitude and entrenched nature of the problems in each area are such that they are not susceptible to quick fixes.

Poverty in Transition Economies (Routledge Studies of Societies in Transition) Poverty in Transition Economies (Routledge Studies of Societies in Transition)
Poverty in Transition Economies (Routledge Studies of Societies in Transition) Poverty in Transition Economies (Routledge Studies of Societies in Transition)
Poverty in Transition Economies (Routledge Studies of Societies in Transition) Poverty in Transition Economies (Routledge Studies of Societies in Transition)
Poverty in Transition Economies (Routledge Studies of Societies in Transition) Poverty in Transition Economies (Routledge Studies of Societies in Transition)
Poverty in Transition Economies (Routledge Studies of Societies in Transition) Poverty in Transition Economies (Routledge Studies of Societies in Transition)
Poverty in Transition Economies (Routledge Studies of Societies in Transition) Poverty in Transition Economies (Routledge Studies of Societies in Transition)
Poverty in Transition Economies (Routledge Studies of Societies in Transition) Poverty in Transition Economies (Routledge Studies of Societies in Transition)
Poverty in Transition Economies (Routledge Studies of Societies in Transition) Poverty in Transition Economies (Routledge Studies of Societies in Transition)
Poverty in Transition Economies (Routledge Studies of Societies in Transition)

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