Where Will the Muslim Brotherhood Take Egypt’s Economy?
Islamic tide: Mass support for Muslim Brotherhood gives the party power, plus the burden of running Egypt’s broken economy
CAIRO: Egypt’s new parliament is taking seat amid ongoing protests on the streets, deteriorating relations with the US over impending trial of NGO workers and threats that the US might review $1.3 billion in Egyptian military aid. Thus, it’s essential to read into the economic policy the Muslim Brotherhood will devise to redress an economy battered by a year of severe mismanagement by the ruling military junta and its successive transitional governments.
The Brotherhood’s political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party, or FJP, won 47 percent of the seats in the Egyptian parliament in January 2012, and concerns about that accession to power largely concentrate on secondary issues – sartorial restrictions, alcohol prohibition, gender-segregated beaches – leaving little room for serious policy discussion. At times concerns were raised about the Brotherhood’s perspective on Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel.
For the first time in its modern history, Egypt has been placed under the tutelage of an Islamist party. And more than cultural attitudes, its economic policies may signify the most profound changes for the country.
For much of its 85 years of existence, the Muslim Brotherhood was a banned opposition party. As such, it didn’t have to develop consistent economic policy. FJP’s economic policy today is a confusing series of ideas, mostly aimed at its conservative constituency. Short of a complete economic plan, FJP works from a series of clippings.
Trying to discern a pattern from those clippings, one is struck by two competing ideologies wrestling within the economic policymaking……
Update — this article was republished in the Jakarta Post.
Update 2 — and in Outlook India.
Update 3 — and in The Daily Star (Lebanon).