Few weeks after the assassination of president Sadat in 1981, the president Mubarak took the very promising step of releasing all prominent political prisoners and receiving them in honor at one of his presidential palaces, as if he were apologizing for the uncivilized behavior of his predecessor. Along with this was his decision not to engage in any of the activities that had so annoyed Egyptians under Sadat, such as the constant public appearances of the First Lady and the frequent publication of her photographs in the newspapers.
In February 1982, another felicitous step was taken that inspired hope in the hearts of Egyptian economists that genuine economic reform was about to begin. This was when President Mubarak invited some of the most prominent of Egyptian economists, of all different political orientations, to a conference to discuss the deteriorating condition of the Egyptian economy and to suggest ways of getting out of it.
Egyptians had a very short honeymoon with Mubarak,Sure enough, the sky began to darken before a single year had passed since Mubarak’s ascension to the presidency, and, little by little, we began to despair of any real political or economic change occurring. Then we could gradually sense that a powerful alliance between certain domestic and foreign interests had been formed and dictated all the major decisions, from foreign policy to Arab politics, to the stance toward Israel, and to domestic economic policy. The way the new regime reacted to the recommendations of the economic conference should have given us a portent of things to come. For, after hearing the recommendations of the economic experts and receiving their reports, the ruling party offered sincere thanks to them all and sent them away with the promise that it would form committees to turn all of the recommendations into workable policy. We heard nothing more about new committees or any further meetings of economic experts.
What did happen to the economy, politics, and society in Egypt during the succeeding twenty-seven years is the question that this book will attempt to answer.
About The Author
Galal Amin is professor of economics at the American University in Cairo. Galal Amin studied at Cairo University, receiving his LL.B. degree there in 1955, a diploma in economics in 1956, and a diploma in public law in 1957.
Amin then traveled to Britain in 1958 to study on a government grant, and there he earned an M.S. (1961) and a Ph.D. (1964) in economics from the prestigious London School of Economics.