Political Vegetables? Businessman And Bureaucrat In The Development Of Egyptian Agriculture

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Political Vegetables? Businessman And Bureaucrat In The Development Of Egyptian Agriculture

By Yahya M. Sadowski
Brookings, 1991
396 pp. $32.95
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The vegetables in the title are both real and figurative. Why does Egypt have such a hard time reforming its agricultural sector? Why are there so many disincentives in the way of development? The answer, Sadowski argues, stems from the relative weakness of politicians compared to the surprising strength of businessmen and bureaucrats who profit from the system of subsidies and price controls. Political will is not the problem. Egyptian politicians know that they must change the system. They are not "political vegetables," apathetic about the economic mess, but they do not have many allies where it counts. In conditions of "crony capitalism," businessmen may well be defenders of the old system instead of reformers and entrepreneurs. This book challenges much conventional wisdom about development in Third World countries generally, and the author's detailed evidence from the Egyptian case commands attention.

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