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The Simple Technology of Electoral Advertisement In Egypt [Huffington Post article]

November 28, 2011

I received a text message and two envelopes containing election campaigning material today at my home in Cairo. One envelope was sent by mail, obviously part of a wide postal promotional campaign covering my district; the other envelope was dropped on my doorstep by what I imagine to be an idealistic and wide-eyes, probably young unpaid volunteer on his (it’s probably a he) first assignment, climbing stairs three-by-three with his stack of envelopes.

Technology, in its basest meaning, refers to “how” we produce — simply in what measure do production factors, labour and capital, contribute to the process of production.

So there you have it — it’s the old industrial technology dichotomy: capital-intensive advertising vs. labour-intensive.

The identities of the senders makes this somewhat nerdy realization far more interesting.

Left: Justice and Freedom Party's home-delivered leaflets; Right: Amr Hamzawy's mailed ones

The text message came from Mahmoud Salem, a celebrity blogger and a leading liberal-secular candidate who works in advertisement. The first envelope came from also liberal candidate Amr Hamzawy, a political science professor. The second envelope (the “labour-intensive” one) advertised the entire lot of candidates for the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice (F&J) in my district.

Mind you, the F&J’s choice to send a volunteer with envelopes isn’t one of necessity, far from it — despite the opacity surrounding their funding, it is obvious the quantity and quality of printed documents is far superior to their aforementioned liberal competitor’s, glossy colourful papers of various sizes (as opposed to one black-and-white flyer and a photocopied A4 paper for Hamzawy).

It is simply a reflection of core strengths – and in many ways an elegant and simple explanation of the management of the various competing campaigns.



Read the rest of the article on the Huffington Post, and come back here to comment!


One Comment leave one →
  1. Sarah permalink
    November 28, 2011 7:25 am

    Interesting insights……so does the Brotherhood have it nailed? The Israeli and western press seem to think so.

    What will happen after that? How much power will the military retain? How can the Brotherhood salvage Egypt’s economy? Everyone seems to have political predictions but no one seems to know how the winning party’s platform will translate into pragmatic action. Any thoughts you can share with us about this?

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