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11 - The State and Its Riches

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 August 2023

Mehran Kamrava
Affiliation:
Georgetown University, Qatar
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Summary

An important feature of Iran’s political economy is the variety of opportunities it provides, through which individuals and groups can accrue economic benefits from and through the state. At the broadest level, the Iranian economy cannot be said to be in a healthy state. The Iranian economy is structurally unhealthy. But the economy’s maladies are products of, and also contributing factors to, means of personal enrichment for those with the right political connections. There are a number of areas to focus on, including the strong connections between the state and bazaari merchants; the perverse consequences of resource curses such as overreliance on oil and rampant corruption; the state’s efforts at various welfare schemes and the impulse toward statist economics; and the processes and consequences of pulling back from statism through privatization. All of these developments have combined to undermine the economy’s developmental potential. They have also coalesced to provide multiple means of patronage and clientelism in which the state plays a critical facilitating role. As such, Iran’s economy, diseased and underperforming as it is, provides important sources of support and resilience for the state.

Type
Chapter
Information
Righteous Politics
Power and Resilience in Iran
, pp. 300 - 338
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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