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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: March 2020

7 - “You Let the Dogs Eat the Peasants

Summary

Chapter seven examines the impact of liberalization on the Egyptian countryside. Touted as a solution to Egypt’s agricultural productivity problems, the liberalization of agriculture resulted in an extended process of dispossession in the countryside and a redistribution of land to the elite and to multi-national investors. The abolition of tenure security for peasants and small farmers, forced evictions and skyrocketing rents brought immiseration to the small producers of rural Egypt and further increased Egypt’s deep dependence on food imports. Dispossession also resulted in the intensification of land-related violence, particularly after the introduction of the agrarian reforms of 1997. While the intensification of class conflict in the countryside did not have the same dramatic effect on Egyptian politics as did the growing strike waves in the industrial cities, it did contribute to the breakdown of traditional relations of authority and the erosion of rural support for the Mubarak regime.

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