Kazem Alamdari

Sociologist, Ph. D

Why the Middle East Lagged Behind

Capitalism was the engine of modern development in the West. The land tenure system in the Middle East, in contrast to the West, was an obstacle to the development of capitalism. In the West, feudalism resulted in a capitalist mode of production, and was driven by private ownership of land. In Iran, these fundamentals were absent.

Capitalism was the engine of modern development in the West. The land tenure system in the Middle East, in contrast to the West, was an obstacle to the development of capitalism. In the West, feudalism resulted in a capitalist mode of production, and was driven by private ownership of land. In Iran, these fundamentals were absent. Understanding this, some Western developmentalists, in an attempt to remove this obstacle, rationalized a project of ‘modernization’ that involved imposing capitalism from the top down. Under this project, developing countries under the influence of the West were advised to launch land reform programs that would modify the traditional, and obsolete, land systems. The first part of this study explores the roots of this issue in Iran. The second part of the book examines the period from 1961, when the land reform program began, to 1981, when Iran saw the beginning of the Islamic system.

Why has the Middle East lagged behind not only the advanced capitalist states in the West but also many other parts of the world in terms of growth and economic development? Why have several countries in the region failed to reform their economies and integrate themselves successfully into today's global economy? These and similar questions have long bedeviled scholars of the Middle East. In this well-researched intellectually challenging book Alamdari...seeks to shed light on the causes and consequences of the region's underdevelopment by using Iran as a case study and by focusing on the country's land tenure system...The author identifies two major factos that have historically inhibited the development of the Middle East: the absence of a strong legal system to protect private property and the arbitrariness of the region's rulers.Summing Up: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Upper-division students through faculty. (N. Entessar Choice )

  • © Kazem Alamdari 2018