Economic Policies for Social Justice

Social Justice with its political and economic relevance are at the core of politics in the Arab world today. The uprisings of 2010/11, while not bringing about lasting political change to the region, have nonetheless exposed the ultimate need for political and especially economic reforms. Since the uprisings it has become more and more obvious, that the current economic order of the Arab World is not sustainable, neither socially, economically or ecologically. The need for economic policies for Social Justice is pressing – and growing.

An overstretched public sector has been unable to absorb the growing number of unemployed and public budgets are consumed by largely ineffective subsidies, while corruption and a rent-seeking economy limit innovation and investment in the private sector. In this situation, International Financial Institutions continue to call for structural adjustment programs and economic liberalization. Such policies have been implemented for many decades now, and economic growth in the region was mostly produced by a mixture of neoliberal and crony-capitalist economic policies. However, this growth only benefited a small elite and created sharp social inequalities. The increasing privatization of public goods and services, such as healthcare and education, have further cemented these inequalities. Further inequalities in terms of public services, investment and employment persist between the center and the periphery in all countries of the region.

In the absence of politically accountable governments, social injustice has contributed to protests, political instability and, in the worst cases, to armed conflicts and wars. For many countries of the region, reconstruction will be a decisive issue over the coming years. Choices towards social justice in reconstruction will be crucial to ensure sustainable peace and development.

In the light of these developments, it is safe to say that neoliberal policies have dramatically failed the Arab world. However, in a political environment increasingly dominated by securitization, political and religious extremism, the crucial debate on causes and effects of economic policies and its alternatives is bitterly absent, yet more necessary than ever before.

Projects

Towards Socially Just Development in the MENA Region

Towards Socially Just Development in the MENA Region

To find a way forward, we must understand the reasons for social injustice.
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Political Economy and International Financial Institutions in MENA countries

Political Economy and International Financial Institutions in MENA countries

Many macroeconomic policies are linked to IFIs. How can we move forward?
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Agricultural Policies and Social Justice in MENA

Agricultural Policies and Social Justice in MENA

Agriculture holds large economic potential, but in a region effected by climate change, also risks.
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Trade and Trade Agreements in MENA countries

Trade and Trade Agreements in MENA countries

Rethinking free trade with the aim to increase social justice.
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Socially Just Reconstruction

Socially Just Reconstruction

For lasting peace, reconstruction must be seen from a social justice perspective.
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State Asymmetry and Alternative Economic Policies in Tunisia

State Asymmetry and Alternative Economic Policies in Tunisia

Can Tunisia serve as a model for the region, both politically and economically?
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Events

Call for Abstracts: Land and property rights in the Middle East’s contemporary conflicts

FES Research Project, September 2018 to March 2019

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Social (In)Justice in the MENA Region: Debunking the Myth of Neoliberal Economic Policies

Call for Applications for a Summer School on economic policies. Apply now!

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Launching Publication Regional Conference

A new publication by FES is set to shed light on the causes and costs of economic injustices and present feasible alternatives for new economic...

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Alternative Economy and employment

The prospects and types of employment in new and emerging sectors of the economy in the MENA were the subject of the expert workshop. The workshop was...

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Press

Fiscal reforms caused economic downturn, economists argue

AMMAN — Fiscal reforms implemented 10 years ago were the main cause of the downturn in Jordan’s economy, and similar policies are still being...

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Experts say social justice should drive economic policies

AMMAN — Economic policies should strive for social justice and to engage the younger generation in the development process, experts and policy makers...

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Contacts

Thomas Claes

Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Tunisia

  • Project Director

+216 71 775 343
Thomas.claes(at)fes-mena.org


Publications

Ansatzpunkte einer nationalen Beschäftigungsstrategie für Tunesien

Wirtschaftliche Probleme und soziale Ungerechtigkeiten lösten im Jahr 2011 die Revolution

in Tunesien aus. Seither hat sich viel in Tunesien getan;...

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