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. More

Trade and Trade Agreements in MENA countries

Trade and Trade Agreements in MENA countries

Rethinking free trade with the aim to increase social justice. More

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? More

Socially Just Reconstruction

Socially Just Reconstruction

For lasting peace, reconstruction must be seen from a social justice perspective. More

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. More

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? More

Core Group and National Workshops

The main objective of the project is to develop alternatives to current economic policies, which have led to social injustice in the MENA region. These alternatives are being developed by a group of leading researchers from the region, called the 'Core Group'. Throughout the first year of the project, a first critical reading paper on economic policies in the region was discussed at national workshops in 12 countries in North Africa and the Middle East. The recommendations, criticisms and ideas resulting from these workshops will help with better informing the Core Group and guiding it in the drafting of a set of alternative economic policy proposals for social justice in the countries of the Region.

Thematic Publications and Workshops

This project aims to initiate discussions between academics on pressing economic issues and serve as a bond between academics in the region, civil society and relevant stakeholders. The goal is to broaden the range of knowledge and understanding of economic issues and to enrich the exchanges between the different actors because it is only on this basis that an informed debate on economic policy and its relationship with social justice becomes possible. In a later stage, broader coalitions between academics, policy makers, trade unions, political parties and civil society will be needed to initiate and demand a progressive change towards social justice.

Events

04.09.2020

Online Debate Series - Until debt tear us apart? #10Y_ArabSpring

In this online debate series, the Friedrich Ebert Foundation and the German Development Institute invite experts to discuss how international…


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15.10.2019

Housing, land and properties rights: How does it impact conflicts

Ensuring social housing is a complex but critical part of addressing the impact of conflict on civilians, according to new FES study.


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05.03.2019

OSAE – FES Summer School in Rural and Agricultural Studies, July 3 - 9 2019, in Tunis, Tunisia

Call for Applications from activists, independent researchers, Masters, and doctoral students: In collaboration with Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FES),…


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Press

31.10.2019

Syria’s reconstruction must take a wider view of housing, land and property rights

The Syrian efforts at reconstruction must be careful to avoid perpetuating the inequities that contributed to the conflict in the first place. A key…


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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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Thomas Claes

Project Director

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

Imène Cherif

Regional Program Manager

Imene.Cherif(at)fes.de

Samira Ghazouani

Program Assistant

Samira.Ghazouani(at)fes.de


Towards Socially Just Development in the MENA Region

Towards Socially Just Development in the MENA Region

The publication "Towards Socially Just Development in the MENA Region" aims to revive the debate on economic policy, leftist criticism of the economic order and the relationship between social justice and economic policy choices in the Middle East and North Africa. More

Publications

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